Former Sporting Kansas City and U.S. Men’s National Team defender Matt Besler will return as an ambassador for the Blue KC Sporting Samaritan program for the 2022 Major League Soccer season. Besler previously served as an ambassador during his final season with Sporting in 2020.
The program – which launched in 2016 in partnership with Sporting Kansas City –recognizes students and teachers who make the local community a better place to live, work and play.
Besler has certainly put his own positive stamp on Kansas City. The Overland Park native and Blue Valley West High School graduate made a career competing at the highest level. Besler spent thirteen seasons in Major League Soccer, twelve of which were with his hometown club, Sporting Kansas City.
In that time, Besler led Sporting to four major championships, including the MLS Cup in 2013 along with three U.S. Open Cup trophies, and earned numerous individual accolades as a five-time MLS All-Star, two-time MLS Best XI selection and MLS Defender of the Year (2012).
At the international level, Besler made 47 appearances with the United States Men’s National Team from 2013-2017. He won Concacaf Gold Cup titles in 2013 and 2017 and was part of the USMNT that reached the Round of 16 at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, starting all four matches and becoming the first Kansan to play in a World Cup.
But perhaps most impressively, Besler was a seven-time MLS club captain. He knows firsthand how powerful it can be to lead by example, pass on his knowledge to the younger generations and never stop learning. For Besler, making a difference off the pitch can be as rewarding as any success on it.
“I’m incredibly excited to continue my partnership with Blue KC and Sporting KC,” said Besler. “Together, through the Blue KC Sporting Samaritan program, I look forward to recognizing and honoring teachers and students who are difference makers in our community.”
Blue KC Sporting Samaritans are nominated online and honored at Children’s Mercy Park during the pregame festivities at Sporting KC home matches as part of a VIP experience that includes a customized jersey, four tickets to the match and a parking pass. In addition, the individual who nominated the chosen Blue KC Sporting Samaritan receives two tickets to the recognition match and one parking pass, along with a $25 Sporting Style Gift Card to purchase merchandise at the team store.
Besler first participated in the Blue KC Sporting Samaritan program when it launched in 2016. In 2021, Besler retired from MLS and left the game as Sporting’s all-time career appearance leader with 348 matches played.
“We are thrilled to have Sporting KC legend, community leader and hometown hero, Matt Besler, as an ambassador for our Blue KC Sporting Samaritan program, which recognizes students and teachers who make a difference in our community,” said Jenny Housley, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Blue KC. “The Blue KC Sporting Samaritans are shining examples of how to win in the game of life and another reason why we can all be proud to call Kansas City home. I know they will enjoy the opportunity to meet Matt and receive the red-carpet treatment from Sporting KC.”
Blue KC will celebrate the first Blue KC Sporting Samaritan of 2022 prior to Sporting Kansas City’s next home match at 6 p.m. CT on Saturday, March 26 at Children’s Mercy Park. Tickets for the Western Conference clash with rival Real Salt Lake are available online via SeatGeek, and this rematch of the MLS Cup in 2013 will be televised on UniMas, TUDN, and 38 The Spot, in addition to a live stream on Twitter.
Do you know a standout teacher or student who truly makes a difference? Help them receive the recognition they deserve. You can nominate that special someone as a 2022 Blue KC Sporting Samaritan online.