Matt Besler's national team chances 

December, 5, 2012

CARSON, Calif. -- Eventually, every blue-chip national team prospect in MLS confronts The Choice: Stay a star and a guaranteed starter in MLS for good money, or go for glory and riches on the cutthroat proving grounds of Europe, where one bad game can mean months on the bench and, eventually, national team exile.

It's not surprising that competitive young Americans tend to choose the latter, but although the gamble has paid off for some (Geoff Cameron), it hasn't worked out as well for others (Tim Ream).

Which is why Matt Besler has been thinking a lot about The Choice recently.

Named MLS Defender of the Year last month, the Sporting Kansas City center back's contract expires at year's end, and teams in the Premier League, England's second-tier Championship and Belgium are already sniffing around. But K.C. also wants to re-sign the local product (Besler is from Overland Park, Kan.), and is willing to offer a multi-year extension worth significantly more per season than the $92,000 Besler earned in 2012 -- and he appears ready to take it. The sides are reportedly close to a deal. Besler sure sounded like he was leaning toward staying put when he chatted with ESPN the Magazine last week.

Doug McIntyre is a staff writer for ESPN The Magazine. He has covered American and international soccer since 2002.