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Besler weighing ‘dream’ options at home and abroad following World Cup

Matt Besler

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. — In 2009, Matt Besler was a 22-year-old rookie defender for the Kansas City Wizards. Unsure of whether or not he’d be with the club come summertime, Besler made the choice to stay at home with his parents over renting an apartment.

Five years later, the Overland Park, Kan. native is facing another move involving home. Besler can opt to sign an extension with his home club, Sporting Kansas City, or take one of at least two major European offers from clubs in the English Premier League and Bundesliga.

The difference this time around could potentially be millions of dollars.

Besler and his U.S. Men’s National Team partner Graham Zusi took to the podium in Kansas City Sunday to detail their World Cup experiences and, for the former, discuss future plans.

“I think that I’ve made it very clear how happy that I am in Kansas City, how grateful that I am to play here,” Besler said. “That hasn’t changed at all. At the same time, in the position that I’m in right now, you may only get these kind of opportunities once in your lifetime so I feel the need to at least look into potential opportunities and make a decision from there. I’ll be talking with Peter (Vermes) and Robb (Heineman) and some of the other owners potentially and go from there.”

Breaking into U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann’s squad in March of 2013 with a surprising start against Mexico at Estadio Azteca, Besler has since become a regular with the National Team. At this year’s World Cup, Besler started all four games for the Americans, logging 346 minutes and 23.5 miles ran despite dealing with a minor hamstring injury.

European teams now calling for Besler’s services comes as no surprise to the defender or Sporting KC. However, that was never the focus for Besler during his time in Brazil with the National Team.

“In my mind, I think we all know that it’s possible,” Besler said about European teams inquiring about a transfer. “You’re playing in a World Cup. You’re playing on the biggest stage. We’ve all seen stories of guys that come in at 18 and have a good World Cup and they’re playing for Manchester United the next summer. We’re all aware of that.

“During the World Cup, it doesn’t go through your mind. You really are just focused on the team and helping the team, especially our team. We’re not an individual team. Our success comes from playing together. I don’t think anyone was really focused on their own career during the World Cup. We were really just focused on advancing as far as we could.”

The decision to make the jump overseas or stay at home won’t entirely be on Besler. The defender is still under contract with Sporting KC through 2015, meaning the team has the right to hold or let go of Besler. And while the 2012 MLS Defender of the Year didn’t provide any timetable on a decision, he did note that the opportunities could all very well be dreams of his.

“It’s a dream of mine to play here. It would be a dream of mine to play my entire career here. That’s one of my dreams, but you have other dreams as well. Maybe one of my other dreams could be to play in Europe. If that’s one of my dreams, that’s something I have to think about. It’s not something you go and decide and choose something. It’s a process and there’s a lot of moving parts and a lot of thought that goes into it.”

Besler and Sporting KC will surely have a number of topics to discuss in the coming weeks about the future, but Besler is optimistic that both sides will do what’s best for his career.

“Hopefully we (Besler and Sporting KC) both have enough respect for each other that we work together through everything but ultimately it’s their decision.”


Should Besler and Sporting KC agree to transfer the defender overseas, or should the Kansas native sign an extension and finish out his career in Sporting blue?

Share your thoughts below.



  1. Pingback: Red Card Report
  2. For the younger players, they need to sign at a place where the club has skin in the game and can’t afford to just forget about the player once he is signed. Yedlin to Roma is dangerous because the club can just shove him to the side and nobody will get fired if he never plays a minute. A smaller club can’t afford to do that so they will give him every chance to succeed.

    As for Besler, he should just take the biggest pay check. He is 26 so his future is now. Even if he rides pine at a big club, so what. He trains with the best, he learns a lot, his body doesn’t wear out ( a consideration if you want to go to the WC at 30) and ultimately he might earn a spot. If it doesn’t work out he has a couple of million in the bank and he returns to MLS in 2017 in time to resurrect himself before the WC.

  3. After the performances of Jones, Yedlin, Fabian Johnson, Brooks and Besler in the WC, the Bund-esliga seems poised to welcome them all (even Jones) back or for the 1st time. That’s 5/17 field players after Jozy Altidore’s 2nd degree tear. Impressive group. Think they should all avoid the EPL as good as it is.

  4. I do not believe DeAndre Yedlin will go to Roma, at least not the way it is being reported. Finish MLS then play at Genoa for their second half then to Roma for the 2015-16 season. As I said before, I think he can do better than that.

    For some reason I believe he will go to a 1.Bundesliga club. Don’t forget, Yedlin, Green and Brooks became good friends, the Young Guns. I hope he waits a few more weeks to see what else comes his way.

    • Roma is a huge club, I think it would be a great move. Unless you’re talking Bayern, Dortmund and maybe a couple of others, Roma is a bigger club than most Bundesliga clubs.

      • True probably the biggest club in Italy outside Juventus, and Milan. Therefore that’s top 15 if not 10 in Europe. I will say every game Yedlin played I saw the dollar signs get larger and larger. When he managed to contain EdinHazard I knew it was a wrap he was gone to Europe.

  5. It all comes down to money. But want you don’t want is the England situation. Where money at home keeps you from truly testing yourself. English players are coddled at home so they never go abroad to test themselves. And I know the EPL is considered the best in the world but there’s something about succeeding in unfamiliar territory. It tests your mental fortitude.

    • The EPL is considered the best league in the world only in England and the USA. The rest of the world knows better.

      • Well, while agree with you to a pojnt. What can’t be argued is by depth of teams they are better most leagues outside the Bundisliga. Serie A eh, Ligue 1 more eh, and La Liga while I think close I’d give the edge to the EPL. Then everyone else is a steep drop off.

      • Fair enough. I believe the world ranking have La Liga 1st, the Bundesliga 2nd and the EPL 3rd.

    • EPL would be great destination for USA players, if they already had the strategic and technical sides of their games firmly set. It is no coincidence that some of the best US players have learned at a young age in Netherlands. For Besler, that is prob not a good option. Maybe better to see him get a taste of european league at a mid-tier team in Italy or Germany and then see how he fares. Regardless, hopefully he can go somewhere he can make a lot more money and improve his game considerably.

  6. He needs to go. He has to up his game to the next level along with Yedlin and Gonzalez. We could have a very solid back line come Russia if things work out for these kids.

    • Have you ever actually watched Ream play? Because I have many times – before his move to England. The guy looks great for 89 minutes of the game that you inevitably lose 1-0 because of a huge gaffe. I can only hope and assume that he corrected this before getting his new contract.

  7. He’s making $200k a year in KC. He’ll be in the millions in Europe. No way he turns that down. And further proof MLS needs to open the purse strings. The designated players, salary cap, allocation all needs to be revisited.

  8. If he can get more greens by playing in EU. I say go but as we have seen repeatedly, Americans don’t get treated well in EU especially EPL. Hope for the best for him whatever he decides to do.

    • yes, like Dempsey and Bradley did-they crawled on their knees begging for his permission to move back Stateside. The guy who has taken us as far as 3 of the last 4 coaches knows everything

  9. Mid-tier Budesliga over the UK. A team like QPR can be so volatile and desperate. One day your the coach’s fav, and the next as relegation looms a new coach gets brought in and you are deeeeep on the bench.

    • Besler is 26-27. He makes about 200K, less than what Brek Shea probably makes at Stoke.

      His profile is unlikely to be much higher than it is now.

      And he is hardly guaranteed his place with the USMNT going forward.

      Brooks and Packwood are only going to get better and who knows who else is coming in down the road.

      At the very least he should use his short lived leverage to get a huge pay boost from SKC.

      • “… Who else is coming…”

        How about a guy named Tim Ream! Jürgen did want to take a look at him but his wife was having a baby.

  10. Im a big believer in defenders going abroad. They need to play against the best and defend the best in pressure situations to really improve. Any money received from these transfers need to be put right into youth development


    you could be making 1-2 million a year in England

    Not to mention testing yourself against the best in the world. You just played 4 games in a World Cup. Outstanding. This is your only chance for a shot at world cup 2018

  12. I would be very surprised if a guy hesitant to leave KC would go to Germany. I think that would be a bit too far out of his and his families comfort zone. I can see a club outside of London in the UK being more appealing to the Besler’s.

    • What?? Besler was one of the best performers in the tourney. His anticipation and step ups to take away opposing passes are excellent. He excels at reading the game.

      • He stepped up right into “Big Rom” in the Belgium game. Moves abroad for any of our players that will be back for the next WC would be huge. Sadly, I think Bradley’s game will diminish with his return stateside, but some of these other guys should jump on the chances their WC performances offer.

    • A commenter on a BBC podcast actually said someone “had a Zusi” of a game, meaning that he consistently underperformed. That should become a meme.

  13. Bit shocking that there still isn’t a story posted about the proposed Yedlin move to Roma, it sounds like it is nearly done.

    • Im always reluctant to get on board with these Euro moves. So many seem to blow up with the player riding Euro pine or not even making rosters. I think Yedlin is too green and a move to Italy would expose his defensive liabilities

      • There has been a lot of rumors that he would stay with Seattle to finish out the season and then possibly get loaned directly to Genoa to finish out the Serie A season. I prefer this potential move to the rumored Liverpool one, I thought that had disaster written all over it.

      • Sounds like he wouldnt see Roma until the 2015-16 season. He will be in MLS till the winter window and go to Genoa to play their and get his feet wet.

        I like the idea of his learning from Maicon and Ashley Cole (who reportedly will sign tomorrow with Roma).

      • He will learn nothing from them because he might take their job away. Stop with the fantasy football. Pro soccer is the most cutthroat of all pro sports and I worry for him. He will not speak the language unless it is EPL and god forbid he gets a coach like Magath. He is just a babyband needs a mentor or some body to ptotect him.You blog guys should get real!

      • With Liverpool playing in the Champions league they will need more players and might be pressed to play him. But I don’t think they will go far, EPL teams have been struggling there and Liverpool hasn’t been in it in a while. The EPL is fraught with danger, even for the very talented players.

      • No he will stay in Seattle till the winter window and then go on loan to Genoa. Then when Maicon’s contract is up after this upcoming season, he will have his chance.

  14. Graham Zusi is on the bench for today’s match against the Fire, but Besler is not. Precautionary due to the hamstring tweak against Ghana or should we read something else in to it regarding an upcoming transfer?

    • He just played 120 minutes on Tuesday, there is no reason for him to play today that is all that is. Nobody who played in that game Tuesday has played this weekend I believe.

      • Bradley just played 61. Zusi had started the match against Belgium and he played 28 minutes yesterday.

  15. Pretty tough to answer whether he should stay or go when there is zero info in the article on possible European destinations.

    • You may already have heard that teams from England and Germany are under consideration along with SKC. I haven’t seen any more specific information than that.

      • That really means little beyond the league he’ll be playing in. Wages, opportunities and the type of experience he’ll have all vary by club substantially. He’s smart to take his time and not just look at leagues.

      • I mostly agree, but if I can quadruple or quintuple my salary, I wouldn’t turn that down.

    • the rumor i believe is frieburg is preparing a bid; the rumor I dont believe is QPR are interested, but as theyve made bids for Laschilles and Caulker and are maybe getting Rio Ferdinand as well I doubt Besler makes that list.


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