When Nick Besler, departing from the Portland Timbers, joined Real Monarchs in 2017, I don’t think anybody really knew what an important player he would become as the captain of a USL Championship winning team. More importantly, I don’t think people would have guessed how important his contributions would be to that championship win.
The Overland Park native became a pivotal player in the central midfield for the USL Pro champions, using his confidence on the ball and his ability to dictate the tempo of the game to keep games under control, a contribution that didn’t go unnoticed by head office when he was awarded a first team contact in August 2017, 8 months after joining the Monarchs.
What to know
Yes, he is the brother of Matt Besler. You’re going to hear that a lot because that’s what happens when your brother is on the USMNT, but that sells out the contribution Nick can make to Real Salt Lake.
He’s a midfield metronome, dictating the flow of traffic and keeping the tempo of the game for the rest of the team to follow. He’s only got one assist at USL Pro level which is really indicative of his game, he’s happy to do his job so others around him can excel. That’s why he was captain!
What to expect in 2018
I’d expect him to be pushing Kyle Beckerman for minutes. A replacement for Beckerman is needed, as hard as it is to say that, and I think Besler has a lot of the same qualities that Kyle does. They are both leaders, both great passers and both get on with their job humbly. He will likely play minutes off the bench, maybe a few cup starts.
What to hope for
His proximity to Beckerman hopefully teaches him a few good tricks and gives him more insight into what it takes to lead at this level. He grows enough to show that next season he should make a few more starts and he becomes a key part of the teams social group in order to make it easier for that leadership to come to him.