Besler retiring after storied 13-year MLS career


Austin FC defender Matt Besler announced his retirement Wednesday after 13 MLS seasons, the first 12 spent with Sporting Kansas City.

The five-time MLS All-Star and two-time MLS Best XI honoree was named the league’s Defender of the Year in 2012. He won the 2013 MLS Cup and three Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup titles (2012, 2015 and 2017) with SKC.

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Besler, 34, appeared in 314 career matches (305 starts) from 2009-21, registering three goals and 18 assists.

He made 20 starts during Austin’s inaugural MLS campaign in 2021, completing a team-high 90.2 percent of his passes and finishing second on the squad with 40 interceptions.

“To the entire Austin community, thank you for welcoming my family and I to Austin,” he wrote in an open letter to Austin fans published Wednesday on the team’s website. “We felt a part of this city from the moment we arrived and made memories we will carry with us forever.”

Austin finished its debut season with a 9-21-4 record, including a 7-8-2 mark at home.

“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 news release. “Matt has had as 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.”

Besler also made 47 appearances for the U.S. national team, including four starts at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

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