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Graham Zusi and Matt Besler to USMNT


2011 Defensive Player of the Year — Matt Besler

Matt Besler

  • DOB February 11, 1987
  • Age 27
  • Place of birth Overland Park, Kansas
  • POSITION Defender
  • HEIGHT 6'0"
  • WEIGHT 170
  • U.S. CAPS 21
  • CLUB Sporting KC
  • TWITTER @mattbesler (186K followers)
  • Current ASN 100 Rank 9
  • Previous ASN 100 Rank 6

Matt Besler plays for the hometown club he grew up watching. It's the type of tale movies are made from, but Sporting Kansas City's smart, solid centerback isn't done writing the script. In August 2012, he received his first call to the national team for the match in Mexico.

He didn't play in that match but still ended up getting tossed into the mix, getting a start in the United States' opening Hex match. The team lost to Honduras, but it was the start of Besler locking down one of the starting center back positions. Less mistake-prone than partner Omar Gonzalez, Besler has quickly become the first player on the team sheet when filling out the back line.

After graduating from Blue Valley West High School in Overland Park, Kansas, Besler attended Notre Dame University. He finished school in three and a half years, earning a degree in psychology/pre-medicine along with a host of soccer awards, including All-American and Academic All-American selections.

Kansas City drafted Besler with the eighth pick of the 2009 MLS SuperDraft, and he started 26 games his rookie season. He benefitted greatly from playing alongside veteran Jimmy Conrad, and his technique steadily improved. In 2011 Besler started 32 games and helped Sporting KC make it to the postseason. Another strong year in 2012, after which he was named his first MLS Best XI, led to Besler’s first-ever national team call-up—against Mexico in Estadio Azteca.

Klinsmann on Besler:
"I’m not worried about having a couple younger players or even new players like Matt Besler or Steven Beitashour. They’ve proven their qualities over a long time in MLS and they’re doing extremely well. It’s a huge opportunity for those players that are coming to Mexico City now and also for us as a whole team to prove ourselves against a good side.” (August 2012)

Noteworthy Reads

Besler's Wild Week Ends with First-ever Call from Klinsmann (
Matt Besler Named MLS W.O.R.K.S. Humanitarian for April (