Home for good? Besler turns down Euro trials for KC
The interest from Europe was there. The interest in Europe?
Not so much.
Star center back Matt Besler turned down chances to try out with three European clubs, including Premiership side Queens Park Rangers, to re-sign with his hometown team on Wednesday.
Besler signed what manager Peter Vermes said was a three-year extension with Sporting Kansas City, after a 2012 season that saw him named MLS Defender of the Year.
"I basically had trial offers from a number of teams in Europe," Besler told MLSsoccer.com by phone. "That's all they were. I had no contract offers. So basically, my agent and I looked into those opportunities – but in the end, I wanted to stay here and sign back with Sporting."
And Besler, who also fielded trial offers from Birmingham City and Belgium's KAA Gent, said he'll be happy if he never leaves Sporting.
"I want to play in Kansas City for my whole career," the Overland Park, Kan., native said. "If you told me that in eight to 10 years I was still playing for Kansas City and we'd won multiple championships, that would be the ideal situation. That's my vision."
And if being passionately loyal to his hometown makes him an anomaly in professional sports, he's OK with that.
"I know there are some people who are surprised by it," Besler said, "but I don't care. I'm just really glad to be staying, and I'm ready to get to work."
He's also glad to have the issue settled early in the offseason.
"The last couple of weeks have been pretty crazy," he said. "But at the same time, they've been great. I've been getting a lot of support from family and friends in Kansas City, and a ton of support from the fans. That was really nice to see."
Vermes, who’s been wheeling and dealing to replace midfielders Roger Espinoza and Júlio César, said Besler's choice reflects the strides MLS has made.
"I think there are a ton of guys in our league who could easily play overseas," Vermes said in a conference call on Wednesday. "I was just in Spain for almost two weeks. I saw a lot of games, at different levels. I saw Barcelona play, I saw some second-division games, and there's no doubt that many of our players could play over there. And there are some guys playing there who couldn't make our team."
Steve Brisendine covers Sporting Kansas City for MLSsoccer.com.