KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- As Major League Soccer’s All-Star game moves into Sporting Park tonight, one local family might cheer louder than others will. Matt Besler grew up within a 20-minute drive of Sporting Park.
The people who know the 26-year-old call today one of their proudest moments. They've been there since the beginning and watched a young soccer star grow into a talented young man.
“I'll walk around here, and I can remember every one of the games when these photos were done,” Dr. Greg Besler, Matt’s father, said.
They call it 'The Shrine’. The basement at the Besler’s home in Overland Park is part man cave, part hall of fame. The Beslers have been collecting photos and memorabilia from all three of their athletic sons, including Sporting Kansas City defender Besler. They knew him 26 years before he was an MLS All-Star.
“The thing I’ll remember is all the fun he created for us, and all that. He was one of the easiest kids. For being a firstborn, he was really easy to bring up,” Dr. Besler said.
“Matt was very focused. He never got ahead of himself with what he was doing. He would concentrate on what he was doing at the time, and try to do it the best he could,” Diane Besler, mother, said.
Mom and dad have been there every step of the way, including the state championship Besler won at Blue Valley West High School. Seeing him play in the MLS All-Star game is one of their proudest moments yet, especially given that he's homegrown talent.
“Some people do it because they have to. I think Matt just really enjoys Kansas City,” Dr. Besler said.
“I had a lot of fun last summer with the MLB All-Star game in Kansas City, a lot of pride for the city. They did a great job, and I think this MLS All-Star game can be even better,” Matt Besler said.
The honor isn't lost on his SKC teammates. In 2012, he was such a disruptive defender, the league named him MLS Defender of the Year.
“For bees (Matt Besler), it's a special moment. Being that he's from Kansas City, and grew up in this area. Every week, he has the opportunity to play in front of his own crowd if you will,” Sporting coach Peter Vermes said.
“I’m sure it's surreal for him and his family to grow up watching the Wizards, and now, Matt's playing in the All-Star game for Kansas City. That's gotta be an incredible feeling for him.,” Sporting forward Graham Zusi said.