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Matt Besler retires after illustrious MLS, United States career

Besler SKC


Matt Besler has put a bow on a sterling 13-year Major League Soccer career, announcing his retirement Wednesday morning.

The 34-year-old center back spent his final season with Austin FC after 12 seasons anchoring Sporting Kansas City's backline.

“To the entire Austin community, thank you for welcoming my family and I to Austin,” Besler said in an open letter on Austin FC's website. “We felt a part of this city from the moment we arrived and made memories we will carry with us forever.”

Besler signed with Austin as a free agent last January and made 20 starts during the club’s inaugural season, though was derailed by a concussion during the final months. His MLS career included 3g/18a across 314 regular-season games, as well as another 18 appearances in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs.

“We’re very grateful to Matt and his family for all the time and energy they’ve given over the past year to help grow Austin FC,” Austin sporting director Claudio Reyna said in a statement. “Matt has had a stellar career and his contributions for club and country will not be forgotten. He’ll always be a part of our organization and we wish him success in this next chapter of his life.”

Before joining Austin for his final MLS season, Besler was a club legend and captain at Sporting KC. The Kansas native helped them lift MLS Cup in 2013 and win three US Open Cups (2012, 2015 and 2017).

A two-time MLS Best XI selection and five-time MLS All-Star, Besler was also named MLS Defender of the Year in 2012. He joined the league as a first-round 2009 MLS SuperDraft pick, with SKC then known as the Kansas City Wizards.

Internationally, Besler competed with the US men's national team at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. The left-footed defender earned 47 caps and was also part of Concacaf Gold Cup-winning sides in 2013 and 2017.