Jan. 15, 2009
SAINT LOUIS, Mo. - Notre Dame's Matt Besler (Overland Park, Kan./Blue Valley West) and Jack Traynor (St. Charles, Mo./Francis Howell North) heard their names called during the 2009 Major League Soccer (MLS) SuperDraft on Thursday afternoon. The Kansas City Wizards selected Besler in the first round, while the New York Red Bulls nabbed Traynor in the second round.
Besler, a central defender, became the highest-ever MLS SuperDraft pick in program history as he was selected eighth overall by his home state team. Traynor, a left back, was the 29th selection.
Besler played every minute on the pitch this past season and tallied a goal and an assist en route to being named a first-team All-American by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA). Besler also copped Academic All-America honors from ESPN the Magazine and the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). Besler is the first player in program history to be a first-team All-American and an Academic All-American. In addition, he earned his third straight all-conference honor as he was named to the all-BIG EAST first team.
For his career, Besler played in 90 games, including 73 starts. He started every match over the past three seasons and only missed one game during his collegiate career. Besler totaled 17 points on five goals and seven assists in an Irish uniform.
Traynor started all 21 games this past season and registered three points on a goal and an assist from his left back position. He copped his third all-conference accolade as he was named second team all-BIG EAST. Traynor was a staple in the Fighting Irish backline during his four-year career as he played in 86 games and started 82 of those contests. The Missouri native notched 11 points on two goals and seven assists.
The duo helped the Fighting Irish defense post seven shutouts during the 2008 season. Notre Dame registered a 12-7-2 record and earned the No. 12 seed in the NCAA Championship. The Irish notched a 7-2-2 league mark and captured their second straight BIG EAST regular-season title. During their careers, they helped Notre Dame gain four straight berths to the NCAA Championship, including the program's first two trips to the quarterfinals in 2006 and 2007.
Besler and Traynor graduated from Notre Dame in December. They became the 12th and 13th players, respectively, in Notre Dame history to be selected in the MLS Draft. The Fighting Irish have produced two picks in each of the past three drafts.
University of Akron forward Steve Zakuani was the first overall selection to the Seattle Sounders FC in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft. The draft consisted of four rounds and 60 total picks.