June 26, 2017
by Tony Jones
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Ahead of the upcoming CONCACAF Gold Cup, a pair of former University of Notre Dame men’s soccer standouts have been added to the United States Men’s National Team roster by head coach Bruce Arena. Sporting Kansas City defender Matt Besler (’09) and Toronto FC defender Justin Morrow (’10) were part of a 16-man MLS contingent named to the 23-man USMNT roster by Arena on June 25.
Besler is set to compete in his third Gold Cup for the U.S., having taken part in both the 2013 and 2015 editions of the tournament. The USMNT was victorious during the 2013 Gold Cup, and took fourth place in 2015. Morrow was named to the Gold Cup roster for the first time in his career.
A standout with the USMNT since debuting in 2013, Besler made four starts on the U.S. back line during the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, helping the American side reach the round of 16 for the second straight time. He added two starts during the 2016 Copa América Centenario last June. In 17 starts for Sporting KC in 2017, the five-time MLS All-Star Besler has tallied three assists and has captained Sporting KC to nine team clean sheets as of June 24.
Morrow previously earned one career cap with the senior U.S. squad, taking part in a friendly against Canada in January of 2013. He’s been a stalwart in the MLS since 2010, and is in his fourth season as a member of Toronto FC. Morrow played in the MLS Cup Final in 2016 after scoring five goals and adding four assists during the regular season for Toronto FC, and the 2012 MLS All-Star has chipped in three goals and one assist from his defensive post during the current campaign as of June 24.
The U.S. will be one of four teams competing out of Group B at the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup, joining Panama, Nicaragua and Martinique. Tournament play begins on July 8 against Panama at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee.
Tony Jones, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2012 and coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame softball and men’s soccer programs. A native of Jamestown, New York, Jones is a 2011 graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and prior to arriving at Notre Dame held positions at the University of Louisiana Monroe and with the National Football League’s Buffalo Bills.