Transfer Tracker

Matt Besler joins Austin FC as free agent after Sporting Kansas City tenure

Matt Besler - Sporting Kansas City - tight shot


Austin FC have signed center back Matt Besler ahead of their 2021 expansion season, giving the new MLS club a veteran defender who's appeared in nearly 300 regular-season games for Sporting Kansas City.

Besler, 33, was out of contract after the 2020 season. He appeared in just 10 games (nine starts) as Sporting earned the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, seeing diminished time before the longtime captain joined the Texas-based project.

“We are pleased to add a proven defender to the squad that fits the profile we are looking for in a player,” sporting director Claudio Reyna said in a club release. “Matt’s unique blend of leadership and competitive experience is a valuable combination of strengths, and we are excited to have him continue his career in Austin.”

Besler spent the last 12 seasons with Sporting, contributing three goals and 18 assists in 294 games (285 starts). He helped them lift MLS Cup in 2013 and win three U.S. Open Cups.

On the international stage, Besler was part of the United States team at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. He’s earned 47 caps for the USMNT and was also part of Concacaf Gold Cup-winning sides in 2013 and 2017.

“I’m ecstatic about this opportunity,” Besler said in a release. “After playing in MLS for so many years, I can’t help but feel excited to join an ambitious project with Austin FC. I’ve seen amazing things from Austin’s fanbase already, and I truly look forward to playing in front of them.”

As Austin build out their roster, Besler gives them another center-back option alongside Julio Cascante and Jhohan Romana. Cascante was acquired via trade with the Portland Timbers, while Romana arrived from Paraguayan side Club Guarani.

2021 Austin FC Roster as of January 6, 2021:

HEAD COACH: Josh Wolff


  • Dominguez, Cecilio
  • Gallagher, Jon
  • Hoesen, Danny
  • Redes, Rodney


  • Fagundez, Diego
  • Jimenez, Hector
  • Ring, Alex
  • Segura, Ulises
  • Stroud, Jared


  • Besler, Matt
  • Cascante, Julio
  • Lima, Nick
  • Romana, Jhohan
  • Sweat, Ben


  • Scott, Brady
  • Stuver, Brad
  • Tarbell, Andrew