Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By IVES GALARCEP
Sporting Kansas City lost one key player in the off-season when Roger Espinoza made his long-rumored move to English Premier League side Wigan, but Sporting KC has succeeded in keeping another important player home.
Sporting KC has re-signed 2012 MLS Defender of the Year Matt Besler to a new four-year contract, sources confirmed to SBI on Wednesday. (UPDATE- Sporting KC confirmed the signing on Wednesday morning.)
Besler had offers on the table from English clubs Queens Park Rangers and Birmingham City, as well as Belgian side Gent, but ultimately decided to stay with his hometown team, where he has spent the past four seasons.
“Kansas City is my home. This organization is fantastic, I love all my teammates and the fans are the best around,” Besler said in a team-issued statement. “My goal to help bring championships to Kansas City has never wavered and I am ecstatic to re-sign with the club. I promise to continue to work hard and serve this team and community through my actions on and off the field.”
The 25-year-old defender started 30 of 34 regular season matches for Sporting KC, leading a defense that finished as the best in the league. Besler’s leadership in central defense helped Sporting KC win the 2012 U.S. Open Cup and helped the team finish in first place in the Eastern Conference during the regular season.
Besler’s play in 2012 also drew the attention of the U.S. Men’s National Team, earning call-ups to training camps, though he is still awaiting his first national team cap.
Re-signing Besler is another major off-season accomplishment for Sporting KC, which traded for U.S. World Cup veteran Benny Feilhaber on Wednesday as the replacement for Roger Espinoza, who left Sporting KC on a free transfer this winter. Losing Besler would have been a devastating blow, and now that he is re-signed, Sporting KC can turn their attention toward signing a forward.
“Matt (Besler) not only developed into a very important piece of our team, but also into a strong leadership role within the group,” Sporting KC head coach Peter Vermes said in a team-issued statement. “Obviously this was a very high priority to get done and we are very, very pleased we were able to retain him as he is a key piece to our puzzle and a great asset for the successes of our team.”
What do you think of this development? Surprised Besler didn’t move to Europe? See Sporting KC being favorites to win it all in 2013?
Share your thoughts below.