Austin FC’s Matt Besler retires, ending 13-year MLS career

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Austin FC forward Cecilio Dominguez (10) and defender Matt Besler (5) celebrate after Cecilio scored a goal during the first half of an MLS soccer match against the Sporting Kansas City Saturday, June 12, 2021, in Kansas City, Kan. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Austin FC and former U.S. men’s national team defender and Matt Besler, who spent 13 seasons in Major League Soccer and was a five-time All-Star, announced his retirement Wednesday.

He was brought in to play for the Live Oaks to help provide a veteran voice and much-needed leadership for the expansion club. He played 20 matches for Austin, starting all of them, before suffering a concussion against Vancouver in early September. He missed the final two months of the season.

Besler played 47 matches for the national team from 2013-2017, including all four matches of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, where the U.S. advanced to the round of 16.

Besler, 34, played 12 seasons with Sporting Kansas City, then signed as a free agent with Austin. He was the MLS defender of the year in 2012 and helped Kansas City win the league championship in 2013.

He also was a member of the U.S. national team that won the CONCACAF Gold Cup championship in 2013 and 2017.

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