Sporting Kansas City‘s Matt Besler is known for giving back to the community in Kansas City and is one of Sporting Kansas City’s most popular players.
He’ll be part of the U.S. national team about to begin play in the World Cup.
Watch the video above for a highlight recap and analysis of Besler’s skills and read on for more about his background.
1. He Was an Athletic & Academic All-American at Notre Dame
Besler was the first player in Notre Dame soccer history to be awarded both first-team All-America and first-team Academic All-America honors. He graduated as a three-time All-Big East performer and Big East Academic All-Star.
Besler played in 90 career games, just one short of the program’s record, and started 83, tallying 5 goals and 7 assists.
While he was still in school, he trained with the U.S. U-20 national team and was later chosen eighth overall in the first round pick of the 2009 Major League Soccer (MLS) SuperDraft, making him the highest pick of any player in the Notre Dame soccer program’s history.
His brother, Nick Besler, plays midfield for the Fighting Irish and is heading into his senior year.
— The Fighting Irish (@FightingIrish) May 23, 2014
2. Since Going Pro, He Has Only Played for Kansas City and the U.S. National Team
Besler, a native of Overland Park, Kansas, has played in more than 100 games since he was drafted by Sporting KC in 2009. He is still playing for KC Sporting and was named captain for the 2014 season after being named KC Sportsman of the Year and MLSSoccer.com Breakout Player of the Year.
— Andy Edwards (@AndyEdMLS) May 25, 2014
There was talk of Besler transferring to a European team, but that will not be happening anytime soon.
The talented defender was scouted by football clubs in both England and Belgium in 2012, but turned down those offers and re-signed a 4-year contract with Sporting Kansas City instead.
Besler told SportingNews.com:
Kansas City is my home. This organization is fantastic, I love all my teammates and the fans are the best around. My goal to help bring championships to Kansas City has never wavered, and I am ecstatic to re-sign with the club. I promise to continue to work hard and serve this team and community through my actions on and off the field.”
Besler’s current salary is about $200,000.
Click here to see his career statistics and honorable mentions.
3. He’s 1 of 2 Sporting KC Players on the World Cup Roster
Besler is not the only one on Sporting Kansas City who has been added to the World Cup roster. Teammate and close friend Graham Zusi will be playing alongside Besler in his first World Cup appearance. The Sporting Kansas City veterans have been with the national team since May 15 for its preliminary camp. Watch the video above to see interviews with both players.
Besler told the Kansas City Star:
“I’m extremely humbled and honored to be named to the final World Cup roster. This is certainly a dream of mine, and I look forward to experiencing my first World Cup.”
Zusi is a sixth year veteran for Sporting KC as a starting midfielder.
Klinsmann told media in a teleconference:
“They work hard for what they’re doing. That’s why they developed into two players in our environment that are very important.”
4. MLS Named Him Humanitarian of the Month
Besler is a huge supporter in the efforts to raise money and awareness in order to fight blood-borne cancers. In April, Besler was given the MLS W.O.R.K.S. Humanitarian of the Month Award for his hard work and passion for helping those in need.
Besler told MLSSoccer.com:
“Being from Kansas City, I love helping out and making a difference. I think in the past two years, our fan base has grown so much. We’ve always had passionate fans, but now we have that big, passionate fan base. I think the guys realize that we have a special group of fans and we want to give back.”
Besler’s efforts included a two-month long stream of Twitter auctions that ended in the beginning of May. Besler’s “Besler Gives Back” package for Sporting’s May 5 game against the Montreal Impact will also be on sale to raise money. A portion of all proceeds from sales of that package will go to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. There were other special events planned for that night to aid in the charity.
MLS W.O.R.K.S Humanitarian of the Month is a great honor. But it should be awarded to EVERYONE who has donated their time and money for LLS
— Matt Besler (@mbesler) April 10, 2012
5. He Recently Married Longtime Girlfriend Amanda Miller
This past December, Besler married his longtime girlfriend, Amanda Miller. The couple met in high school through mutual friends but lost touch after high school. While Besler was at Notre Dame, Amanda went off to the University of Kansas. The two re-connected after college and have been together since.
Besler and Amanda had a pleasant surprise when they found out Sporting Kansas City fans ended up buying most of the the gifts for them on their registry.