Sporting KC re-sign MLS Defender of the Year Matt Besler
Suitors came calling, but none could offer Matt Besler enough to convince him to leave home behind.
Just weeks after being named 2012 Defender of the Year and a MLS Best XI selection, the 25-year-old put ink to paper on a new deal with Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday, pledging his future to his hometown club.
Besler started 30 games during 2012, his fourth season with Sporting, and helped the club to the best defensive record in MLS – 27 goals allowed in 34 games – the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference and a US Open Cup championship. Per club and league policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“Kansas City is my home,” Besler said in a statement. “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.”
Kansas City, then the Wizards, took the Notre Dame graduate with the 10th pick in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft. Besler's made 103 career appearances with the club, scoring two goals and contributing four assists, and was named Sporting's Defender of the Year the past two seasons as the team finished at the top of the Eastern Conference. He was also a 2011 MLS All-Star.
Besler earned his first call-up to the US national team during 2012 when Jurgen Klinnsman included the center back in the squad that defeated Mexico at Azteca, 1-0, in August. Re-signing the defender was a crucial piece of Kansas City's offseason plan after back-to-back playoff defeats to the Houston Dynamo.
“Matt not only developed into a very important piece of our team, but also into a strong leadership role within the group,” manager Peter Vermes said. “Obviously this was a very high priority to get done and we are very, very pleased we were able to retain him as he is a key piece to our puzzle and a great asset for the successes of our team.”