Jan. 15, 2015

Photo Gallery Photos | Portland Timbers Release

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – University of Notre Dame senior midfielder Nick Besler was selected fifth overall by the Portland Timbers in Thursday’s 2015 Major League Soccer (MLS) SuperDraft.

Besler (Overland Park, Kan.) is the highest MLS draft pick in Notre Dame history. The previous owner of that distinction was Nick’s older brother Matt, who was selected eighth overall in 2009.

“At first I was relieved and then I took a big deep breath and I was really excited,” Besler said of his selection. “Now I’m looking forward to getting to Portland and beginning my journey. I’m excited to get out there and compete with the guys.

“I know the (Timbers) fans are crazy and loud and it’ll be fun to play in front of them.”

Besler earned second-team All-America honors this season from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA). The central midfielder never left the pitch during the 2014 campaign and he notched one goal and two assists for the Fighting Irish. Besler netted the golden goal in the 1-0 win over VCU.

The Fighting Irish team captain copped first-team all-Atlantic Coast Conference accolades for the second straight season to become a three-time all-league performer after receiving a third-team all-BIG EAST citation in 2012. Besler competed in 72 matches, including 59 starts, and posted two goals and five assists during his stellar Notre Dame career.

As a junior, Besler helped Notre Dame capture its first national championship and the ACC regular-season title. The Fighting Irish won the ACC Coastal Division this season and garnered the top overall seed for the NCAA Championship. Notre Dame fell to eventual national champion Virginia, 1-0, in the Round of 16 to finish with a 12-5-4 (6-1-1 ACC) record.

“Nick was a terrific player here and a good student and just a good person,” Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark said. “He’s going to a great club. They sell out and it’ll be a great atmosphere for him. He now has a lot of work to do. Just like every time you move up a level, he’ll have to dig in and get down to work because you start over again. He’s a very confident player and I think he’ll make the transition very well.”

Orlando City selected Connecticut’s Cyle Larin with the first overall selection in Thursday’s draft, which consisted of two rounds and 42 total picks. The third and fourth rounds will be held Tuesday.

Notre Dame and Connecticut are the only two schools to produce a first-round selection in each of the last four MLS SuperDrafts. Notre Dame has had 18 SuperDraft picks since 2007 and the Fighting Irish have had 23 SuperDraft selections overall during Clark’s 14-year tenure.

Notre Dame All-Time MLS Draft Selections

2015 SuperDraft
Nick Besler (M)
Portland Timbers – First Round – 5th overall selection

2014 SuperDraft
Grant Van De Casteele (D)
Colorado Rapids – First Round – 19th overall selection

Harrison Shipp (F)
Was not drafted because he signed with the Chicago Fire as a Homegrown Player

2013 SuperDraft
Ryan Finley (F)
Columbus Crew – First Round – 9th overall selection

Dillon Powers (M)
Colorado Rapids – First Round – 11th overall selection

2013 Supplemental Draft
Adam Mena (M)
Vancouver Whitecaps – First Round – 10th overall selection

Michael Rose (M)
Vancouver Whitecaps – First Round – 11th overall selection

2012 SuperDraft
Aaron Maund (D)
Toronto FC – First Round – 12th overall selection

Brendan King (M)
Portland Timbers -Second Round – 27th overall selection

2012 Supplemental Draft
Greg Klazura (D) Vancouver Whitecaps – Second Round – 21st overall selection

2011 SuperDraft
Jeb Brovsky (F/M)
Vancouver Whitecaps FC – Second Round – 19th overall selection

Bilal Duckett (D)
Vancouver Whitecaps FC -Third Round – 37th overall selection

Steven Perry (F)
New England Revolution -Third Round – 39th overall selection

2011 Supplemental Draft
Philip Tuttle (G)
San Jose Earthquakes – Second Round – 33rd overall selection

2010 SuperDraft
Bright Dike (F)
Columbus Crew – First Round – 12th overall selection

Michael Thomas (M)
San Jose Earthquakes – Second Round – 19th overall selection

Justin Morrow (D)
San Jose Earthquakes – Second Round – 28th overall selection

2009 SuperDraft
Matt Besler (D)
Kansas City Wizards – First Round – 8th overall selection

Jack Traynor (D)
New York Red Bulls – Second Round – 29th overall selection

2008 SuperDraft
Ryan Miller (D)
Columbus Crew – Third Round – 31st overall selection

Joseph Lapira (F)
Toronto FC – Third Round – 35th overall selection

2007 SuperDraft
Greg Dalby (M)
Colorado Rapids – Second Round – 17th overall selection

Nate Norman (M)
Chicago Fire – Second Round – 21st overall selection

2005 SuperDraft
Jack Stewart (D)
Chicago Fire – First Round – 10th overall selection

Kevin Goldthwaite (M/D)
San Jose Earthquake – Second Round – 17th overall selection

Chris Sawyer (G)
Kansas City Wizards – Second Round – 24th overall selection

2004 SuperDraft
Kevin Richards (D)
Colorado Rapids – Fourth Round – 35th overall selection

Justin Detter (M/F)
Kansas City Wizards – Fifth Round – 47th overall selection

1999 Supplemental Draft
Ryan Turner (F)
Kansas City – Second Round – 14th overall selection

1997 Supplemental Draft
Dan Stebbins (F)
Dallas – First Round – 4th overall selection

— ND —