Sep 14, 2012; Kansas City, KS, USA; Houston Dynamo midfielder Brad Davis and Sporting KC defender Matt Besler (5) go after the ball in the first half at Livestrong Sporting Park. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Meet Sporting Kansas City: Matt Besler

Matt Besler, an Overland Park, Kansas native, has become the centerpiece in Sporting Kansas City’s strong defense that led the MLS in shutouts during the 2012 season. At a prime age of 26 Besler’s performances have begun catching the eye of United States national team manager Jürgen Klinsmann who has called him up to the squad on a few occasions now with Besler earning his first cap in January 2013 during a friendly against Canada.

Mar 9, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Sporting KC defender Matt Besler (5) and Toronto FC forward Robert Earnshaw (10) look to control a loose ball during the second half of a game at the Rogers Centre. Toronto won the game 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Besler played for Blue Valley West High School, as well as youth soccer with Sporting KC teammate Seth Sinovic, before attending the University of Notre Dame to play soccer, where he was an All-American and Academic All-American as a senior. The team he had grown up watching, Kansas City, drafted him back to his home in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft. He has spent his entire professional career with Kansas City and has made 103 appearances and scored 2 goals for the club, leading the team in minutes played in the 2011 season.

Besler is known for being a smart defender that plays in the center of the defense primarily, but has played in the left spot early in his career. He has made several key game-winning assists throughout his career which shows that he is a versatile player that can come up big for the team when needed.

After several productive seasons the Kansas City native had his breakout year in 2012 earning recognition and awards such as Sporting Kansas City’s Defensive Player of the Year, MLS Defender of the Year, MLSsoccer.com Breakout Player of the Year, and MLS Best XI.

He follows all Kansas City professional teams and wears the number 5 for Kansas City Royals legend George Brett. Playing the inaugural match at Sporting Park is his favorite soccer memory.

You can follow Matt Besler as he travels with Sporting Kansas City and the U.S. national team on Twitter (@mbesler).

Tags: Matt Besler MLS Soccer Sporting Kansas City

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