Major League Soccer

Matt Besler announces retirement after 13 MLS seasons

Patrick Felts
Austin FC v Sporting Kansas City
Austin FC v Sporting Kansas City / Fernando Leon/GettyImages

Austin FC center back Matt Besler announced his retirement from Major League Soccer after 13 seasons. The Kansas native spent 12 of his 13 professional seasons with hometown Sporting Kansas City before joining Austin for 2021.

“I’m writing today to let you know my career as a professional soccer player has come to an end,” Besler wrote in his announcement.

“Although my time in Austin was short, I want to take a moment to express my gratitude. I truly enjoyed the experience of wearing the Verde and Black and representing this organization to the best of my ability.”

After an All-American collegiate career at Notre Dame, Besler was selected 8th overall in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft by Kansas City, a club he would go on to serve as captain for during the most successful run in team history.

Besler was a key member during a golden age for Sporting KC, lifting the 2013 MLS Cup and the 2012, 2015 and 2017 US Open Cups with the club. He is the club’s all-time leader in appearances, starts and minutes played, and was named the MLS Defender of the Year in 2012.

In 2014, Besler represented the United States in the World Cup, and was the regular starting left-center back for the USMNT under head coach Jürgen Klinsmann. He made his first appearance for the National Team in a 2013 friendly against Canada, and ended his international career winning the CONCACAF Gold Cup in 2017.

In January 2021, Besler joined MLS expansion club Austin FC for the team’s inaugural season, following over a decade in Kansas City. He made 21 appearances for Austin FC, his final being September 4th against Vancouver Whitecaps.

With his playing days coming to a close, Besler thanked everyone who impacted his career Wednesday morning.

“I’m incredibly grateful for the experiences and relationships the game has brought me,” Besler wrote in a Tweet. “My career was made possible by the help of many other people (and a lot of luck). I look forward to thanking those people over the next few weeks.”