AUSTIN, Texas - For the second time in as many days, Austin FC has signed a free agent and Major League Soccer veteran.
On Tuesday, it inked former New England Revolution midfielder Diego Fagundez.
On Wednesday morning, the expansion team announced it acquired former Sporting Kansas City captain and U.S. internatonal Matt Besler.
As per league and club policy, terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Besler, a five-time MLS all-star and 2014 World Cup performer, became Austin FC’s 17th acquisition ahead of its inaugural season in 2021.
“We are pleased to add a proven defender to the squad that fits the profile we are looking for in a player. Matt’s unique blend of leadership and competitive experience is valuable combination of strengths, and we are excited to have him continue his career in Austin,” Austin FC sporting director Claudio Reyna said in a statement. “We welcome Matt to Austin and look forward to his many contributions to the Club.”
Added Besler: “I’m ecstatic about this opportunity. After playing in MLS for so many years, I can’t help but feel excited to join an ambitious project with Austin FC. I’ve seen amazing things from Austin’s fanbase already, and I truly look forward to playing in front of them.”
Besler played 12 seasons with Sporting Kansas City (2009-20) as he led the club to one MLS Cup championship (2013) and three Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup titles (2012, 2015, 2017). The five-time MLS all-star (2011, 2013-16) was named team captain in 2014 and is the first player in team history to record 348 appearances (337 starts) across all competitions. He also led the club in regular-season appearances (294) and starts (285). Besler has made 18 appearances (18 starts) in the MLS postseason, 20 appearances (18 starts) in USOC play and 16 appearances (16 starts) across Concacaf Champions League and SuperLiga competitions.
The native of Overland Park, Kansas, earned MLS Best XI honors twice (2012-13). Besler was also named MLS defender of the year and MLS Breakout Player of the Year in 2012 after being selected as the eighth overall pick of the 2009 MLS SuperDraft from the University of Notre Dame.
Besler has represented the U.S. men’s national team 47 times (44 starts) since debuting Jan. 29, 2013. He was part of the U.S. squad that won the 2013 and 2017 Concacaf Gold Cup titles. Besler, who became the first Austin FC rostered player to have featured in a World Cup, played in all four matches at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, helping the U.S. advance to the Round of 16 in the tournament.