July 20, 2015
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — University of Notre Dame men’s soccer alumnus Matt Besler (’09) has continued to grow at the professional level, emerging as one of the best defenders in the MLS for Sporting Kansas City since being drafted in the first round (eighth overall) of the 2009 MLS SuperDraft. The former Fighting Irish All-American earned his fourth pro all-star bid by being officially named on Saturday as a member of the Fan XI for the 2015 AT&T MLS All-Star Game.
The Fan XI received the most votes at their respective positions from combined fan voting on three general platforms — online at MLSsoccer.com, via Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, and from players of EA SPORTS FIFA 15. The MLS All-Stars will host English Premier League stalwart Tottenham Hotspur on July 29 at Skyline Park in Denver, Colorado. The match will kick off at 7 p.m. (MT) and can be seen live on FOX Sports 1.
It is the fifth straight season that a former Fighting Irish player will compete in the MLS All-Star Game. Besler was previously named to the squad in 2011, 2013 and 2014, while Justin Morrow (’10), a defender for Toronto FC, was a 2012 all-star while playing for the San Jose Earthquakes.
Besler has started 17 matches for Sporting KC in 2015 as of July 19, notching two assists from his defender position. Sporting KC shut out 10 of its first 18 opponents on this season’s MLS schedule. Besler was also selected to the preliminary United States Men’s National Team roster for the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
A member of Sporting KC’s 2013 MLS Cup winning team, Besler was also tabbed to that season’s MLS Best XI. That success followed a call up to the U.S. National Team in January 2013, where Besler played an integral role for the USMNT CONCACAF Gold Cup champion and 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifier. Besler made four starts on the U.S. back line during last summer’s World Cup in Brazil, helping the American side reach the round of 16 for the second straight time.
At Notre Dame, Besler played in 90 matches, including 73 starts, from 2005-08 and tallied five goals and seven assists. He earned first team All-America and first team Academic All-America honors as a senior. Besler was a three-time all-BIG EAST honoree and was named the 2008 National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
2015 MLS ALL-STAR ROSTER
GOALKEEPERS: David Ousted (Vancouver Whitecaps), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS: DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo), Tony Beltran (Real Salt Lake), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Laurent Ciman (Montreal Impact), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Chad Marshall (Seattle Sounders), Chris Moor (Colorado Rapids), Chris Tierney (New England Revolution)
MIDFIELDERS: Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Fabian Castillo (FC Dallas), Benny Feilhaber (Sporting Kansas City), Steven Gerrard (LA Galaxy), Kaká (Orlando City SC), Frank Lampard (New York City FC), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
FORWARDS: Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto FC), Kei Kamara (Columbus Crew SC), Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy), David Villa (New York City FC).