Despite rumors of impending moves abroad, two members of the United States’ 2014 World Cup squad and club teammates signed big deals to stay in Major League Soccer on Saturday. Sporting Kansas City announced Graham Zusi and Matt Besler signed long-term Designated Player contracts.
“Getting these deals completed is extremely beneficial for the organization and the two players,” head coach and general manager Peter Vermes said in a press release. “They have had a tremendous impact on creating a winning culture, and these agreements keep us on the path of attaining our goals and expectations.”
Besler is a native of nearby Overland Park, Kan., and became a major part of U.S. manager Jürgen Klinsmann’s plans in the last World Cup cycle. The 27-year-old center back is also the Sporting captain and a three-time MLS All-Star.
“This is a dream come to true to know that I'll be playing my whole career in Kansas City,” said Besler, who reportedly turned down at least one offer from Europe to stay with his hometown team.
Zusi, also 27, appeared in each U.S. match in Brazil, and he has been Kansas City’s primary assist man in each of the last three seasons.
“This is where I have always wanted to be,” Zusi said. “I have always respected players who have played their entire career with one team, and I look forward to a long career in Kansas City.”
Zusi’s future wasn’t fodder for the rumor mill like Besler’s after the World Cup, but he did complete a training stint with West Ham in 2012.