Sporting KC

Besler, Zusi called up to national team for match at Sporting Park

Updated: 2013-10-07T20:18:27Z

By SAM MCDOWELL

The Kansas City Star

Every so often a moment comes along that allows Sporting Kansas City defender Matt Besler to reflect over his entire soccer career. The all-star seasons with Sporting KC, the All-American years at Notre Dame, the state championship run at Blue Valley West. All of it.

This is one of those moments.

Besler and teammate Graham Zusi were announced as roster selections Sunday for the United States men's national team match Friday against Jamaica at Sporting Park, the home to Sporting KC.

Besler, who made his debut with the national team in January, is set for his 12th appearance with the squad, but this will be his first in his hometown.

Well, actually, he's been to a World Cup qualifier in Kansas City once before — as a fan.

"It's always exciting an always an honor, but this one is more special," Besler said. "It's a game that I've been looking forward to since it got announced. You can only control so much, but I was really hoping things would work out, I'd be healthy, and I'd be playing well and get the chance to be on the roster and get in the game. It's amazing."

Zusi has made 16 appearances with the national team — one of which came inside Sporting Park on Oct. 16 when the United States faced Guatemala.

"Certainly, you get a little extra boost from the home fans," Zusi said. "They obviously recognize you and they love to see myself and (Besler). It's a sense of pride for us, but it's also a sense of pride for them to have their home guys on the field. We definitely feel the love from our fans."

The United States has already clinched its spot in the 2014 FIFA World Cup and leads its hexagonal with 16 points.

It closes out the qualifying schedule Oct. 15 against Panama.

To reach Sam McDowell, send email to smcdowell@kcstar.com. Follow him at twitter.com/SamMcDowell11.

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