Matt Besler has excelled both on and off the field during his four years at Notre Dame.

Matt Besler Garners Academic All-America Honors

Nov. 19, 2008

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Notre Dame senior Matt Besler (Overland Park, Kan./Blue Valley West) has earned first-team Academic All-America honors from ESPN the Magazine and the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). Besler becomes the sixth player in program history to be selected as a CoSIDA Academic All-American.

Besler, a central defender, carries a 3.462 cumulative grade-point average in the College of Arts and Letters as a pre-professional studies and psychology major. This season, he has played every possible minute on the field. Besler has notched three points on one goal and one assist, while anchoring a Fighting Irish defense that has posted seven shutouts on the season.

Accolades have been abundant for the team tri-captain this season. Along with being named a preseason All-American according to Soccer America and College Soccer News, he was selected to the all-BIG EAST preseason team. Besler has been named to both the College Soccer News (Sept. 8) and Soccer America (Oct. 14) national teams of the week. He was tabbed as the BIG EAST defensive player of the week on Oct. 13. The Kansas product also is one of 10 finalists for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award.

At the annual BIG EAST men’s soccer awards banquet on Nov. 13, Besler garnered first-team all-conference accolades as he helped the Irish capture the BIG EAST Blue Division crown for the second straight season. That marked the senior’s third career all-league selection.

Joining Besler on the 2008 ESPN the Magazine Academic All-America first team were goalkeeper Zack Simmons (Massachusetts); defenders Simon Ejdemyr (New Mexico), Mike Gelatt (Liberty), Daniel Kerley (Colgate), Connor Tobin (Vermont); midfielders Ryan Badaracco (Penn State), Josh Bienenfeld (Duke), J.T. Noone (Temple); forwards Zak Boggs (South Florida), Doug DeMartin (Michigan State) and Zach Schilawski (Wake Forest).

Besler joins five former Notre Dame student-athletes with the honor of being an Academic All-American. Ryan Miller earned the distinction last season, while John Stephens was selected in 2005. Phil Murphy (1999), Ryan Turner (1997) and Chris Dean (1995) also have received the honor.

Besler and the 12th-seeded Fighting Irish will begin NCAA Championship play with a second round tilt on Tuesday, Nov. 25. Notre Dame will play host to the winner of Friday’s first round match between Northwestern and Loyola (Ill.).