Matt Besler (#14) had an outstanding year for Sporting Kansas City and the United States in 2013. (Photo: Mexsport)
KANSAS CITY, Kansas -- To say that Matt Besler had a 2013 that was as fulfilling as it was intense would be an understatement. He went from earning his first cap for the United States against Canada in January to winning the CONCACAF Gold Cup and securing a regular role on Jurgen Klinsmann’s back line.
In league play, Besler was named a Major League Soccer All-Star for the second time as he helped lead Sporting Kansas City to an MLS Cup title.
While a lot of athletes would think of elaborate ways to top their previous season’s output, Besler isn’t one of them. He just wants to work hard and improve.
“2013 was definitely an eventful year, but I'm not one to compare this year to last year,” the University of Notre Dame alumnus told CONCACAF.com. “I'm just looking to build off of last year and continue my development as a soccer player, both with Sporting KC and with the U.S. Men's National Team.”
The 27-year-old has emerged as one of the club’s leaders on and off the field. During the last few offseasons, he has urged teammates to remain in the Kansas City area and workout together. Such commitment has not only helped to maintain fitness levels, it has also built camaraderie. Those qualities, however, will be tested as a CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal series against Mexican power Cruz Azul quickly approaches.
“The offseason was definitely short because of MLS Cup,” said Besler, a native of Overland Park, Kansas. “A lot of guys took a few days to unwind, but we knew the challenges that were ahead of us and the boys came back to camp in great shape.
“Everyone is very excited for this season to start. We’re ready to build on the momentum that we built last year and preparing for Champions League is a big part of that.”
If all of that wasn’t enough, he also got married a week after the season concluded.
The league title and subsequent nuptials couldn’t have been timed more perfectly. Jubilant Sporting KC fans bought virtually everything on his wedding gift registry.
“I was very surprised and very thankful,” expressed Besler. “At first, I didn’t know what had happened. I thought our registry was hacked. But when we found out it was Sporting KC fans, many of them strangers, it’s pretty unbelievable what they did, and it’s something Amanda and I will never forget.”
Now entering his sixth year in MLS, time is not standing still for the central defender.
“It’s definitely flown by,” he finished. “I feel like time always flies by, but as a professional athlete, it goes by even quicker. When I think about my career so far, as a whole, there are seasons and games that just blend together. It just feels like everything happened in the past year.”
With a CONCACAF Champions League and a World Cup in Besler’s future, 2014 promises to be an equally productive year.