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Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024
The Observer

Nick Besler selected 5th in MLS SuperDraft by Portland Timbers

For the fourth straight year and the sixth time in the last seven, Notre Dame had a player selected in the first round of the MLS SuperDraft, as 2014 captain and midfielder Nick Besler was selected fifth overall by the Portland Timbers on Thursday.

Besler, who was a two-time all-ACC selection and a member of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America's 2014 All-American Second Team, became the first-ever former Irish player to be selected in the draft's top five. His brother, Sporting Kansas City captain and United States national team defender Matt Besler, was taken eighth in the 2009 SuperDraft, while 2013 MLS Rookie of the Year Dillon Powers was selected 11th in that year's draft by the Colorado Rapids.

While none of Portland's 2014 SuperDraft picks saw the pitch for the club this past season, Besler might have an opportunity to break into the first team as club captain and midfielder Will Johnson will likely miss a significant part of the season due to a broken leg he suffered Sept. 27.

If he is unable to stake a claim to a spot in the Portland midfield, it is likely that Besler would feature for T2, the club's reserve team competing in the third-tier USL Pro league.

Timbers owner Merritt Paulson:

Besler is generally regarded as a defensive midfielder, but he did record the overtime, game-winning goal for the Irish against VCU on Sept. 30. His other goal in an Irish uniform came in the 2012 Big East Tournament championship game, when he scored with 32 seconds left to level the scores against Georgetown.

Besler started 59 games for Notre Dame, including all 21 of the team's contests during his senior season.