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A House Divided: Brothers compete in MLS playoffs

Posted at 10:34 PM, Nov 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-09 23:36:17-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — This weekend’s MLS playoff game between Sporting KC and Real Salt Lake will be a family affair for the Besler family.

During Sunday’s clash at Children’s Mercy Park, Sporting KC captain Matt Besler will go head-to-head against his little brother Nick, a 25-year-old midfielder for Real Salt Lake.

Before both became professional soccer players in the MLS, the two grew up in Overland Park.

“The backyard was always the sports field of the season,” said their father, Greg Besler. “Every contest is contested in the Besler house. Whether it be cards, ping pong, soccer or whatever it is. It’s pretty competitive.”

The shrine in the basement of the Besler home is a sign of how truly talented the family is.

Dozens of trophies, plaques, certificates, and posters hang on the shelves and walls and include the accomplishments both brothers experienced during their times at Blue Valley West High School and Notre Dame.

“They both had successful high school careers. They both won state championships and were players of the year,” Greg said. “They were both captains in high school. They were both captains in college.”

Matt’s first MLS jersey proudly hangs on one of the walls downstairs with pictures of the time he was drafted in 2009 by the Kansas City Wizards nearby.

Other displays show the boys holding multiple championship trophies they won during their careers.

“Their talent probably comes from their mom,” Besler said, smiling. “I have a little bit to do with it but we give her most of the credit.”

With the two brothers now scheduled to play one another in the MLS playoffs, Besler said the game would be a special experience for the family.

“It’s really gut-wrenching watching and knowing one will be disappointed,” he said. “Obviously, we’ll be nervous with them and very happy for who wins.” 

In total, Besler told 41 Action News that around 25 relatives will attend Sunday’s game.

Both parents will wear a special shirt designed for the rare occurrence when the brothers play one another: a split Sporting KC and Real Salt Lake shirt with “Besler” printed on the back with the numbers of both men.

“It’ll bring the family together. They’ll have lots of relatives,” Besler said. “It’s just another moment to bring us all together and to enjoy the competition.”

Sunday’s game at Children’s Mercy Park will begin at 2 p.m.

The winner will advance to the MLS Western Conference finals.