You’re not the only one who’s getting emotional.
Matt Besler returned to Children’s Mercy Park last weekend with Austin FC, allowing for a send-off after their 2-1 loss at Sporting Kansas City. Formerly Sporting’s captain, he appeared in nearly 300 regular-season games for his hometown club and captained the side before being out of contract this past offseason.
Suffice it to say that Besler had plenty of memories, leading to him penning a handwritten letter that was addressed to Sporting fans. Check out a copy below:
Besler wrote that the hardest part about moving on from Sporting was not getting a proper goodbye or one more game with their stadium filled to the brim.
“I want you to know how much I enjoyed playing for you,” Besler wrote. “Representing my hometown was an absolute honor, a responsibility I never took lightly. Through all the wins, draws and losses, I tried to defend and protect Kansas City with all I’ve got.
“Although things didn’t end the way I expected them to, nothing can take away the 12 years we shared. We created some unforgettable memories that will last forever.”
Besler, 34, originally joined Sporting in 2009 as the eighth overall pick in that year’s SuperDraft. He then won three US Open Cups with them (2012, 2015, 2017) and an MLS Cup in 2013.
Now charting a new chapter with Austin, Besler is a key piece as they look to become a serious Western Conference contender. But it’s clear that he’ll always have a soft spot for Sporting, where the mutual respect clearly extends beyond the field.
Perhaps this story has another chapter around the corner, too, when Austin return to face Peter Vermes’ team on June 12. Tifo, anyone?