KANSAS CITY, Mo. — After 12 seasons with the hometown club, defender Matt Besler and Sporting KC have parted ways.
The Overland Park, Kansas, native has 348 appearances, 337 starts and 30,397 minutes played for Sporting in all competitions; the most in club history.
“Obviously, it's a decision that doesn’t come easy for so many reasons,” Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes said Wednesday.
“It’s a relationship that I will always hold very dear to my heart but in sports, salary cap wealth in the idea that players, staff members will be with the club forever is not something is likely; it’s not going to happen,” Vermes said.
In a statement released on Twitter, Belser thanked the organization for the “experiences and unforgettable memories.”
“I remain hungry and excited for whatever new opportunities lie ahead and look forward to entering the free agency market,” the statement said.
On Wednesday, Sporting also announced more roster moves ahead of the 2021 MLS season.
The team exercised contract options with Amadou Dia, Felipe Hernandez, Gadi Kinda, Johnny Russell and Graham Smith.
Russell was third on the team in goals this season with six, picking up four assists along the way. Kinda was fourth on the team in shots on goal with 11.
Along with Belser, Sporting declined contract options for Eric Dick, Wan Kuzain, Winston Reid and Richard Sanchez.
Roger Espinoza, Gerso Fernandes, Felipe Gutierrez and Erik Hurtado are currently in discussions with the club regarding their futures.
The Sporting KC players under contract in 2021are:
- Goalkeepers: Tim Melia, John Pulskamp
- Defenders: Amadou Dia, Andreu Fontas, Jaylin Lindsey, Luis Martins, Roberto Puncec, Graham Smith, Graham Zusi
- Midfielders: Gianluca Busio, Cam Duke, Felipe Hernandez, Gadi Kinda, Ilie Sanchez
- Forwards: Tyler Freeman, Wilson Harris, Alan Pulido, Johnny Russell, Daniel Salloi, Khiry Shelton