MLS Soccer: Kasey Keller
Born November 29th, 1969 in Olympia Washington
The Olympia born athlete has called it a career, as this will be his last season in goal. Still, he has some matches left for the Sounders who have a legit chance to win their first MLS title and Keller is one of the main reasons for that.
He ranks 3rd in the league in saves and Seattle has the 2nd best record, as the MLS playoffs draw near.
The local boy stayed close to home attending University of Portland and then playing for the Portland Timbers of the Western Soccer Alliance.
After Keller played in his first World Cup for the Stars and Stripes in 1990 he headed across the pond and in an interesting fact he was the very first American keeper to become a regular in Germany’s Bundesliga, England’s Premier League, and Spain’s La Liga.
Keller signed with the Sounders in 2009 and was the starting keeper when Seattle played their first MLS match, which he kept a clean sheet in winning 3-0.
After that clean sheet in the inaugural Sounders’ match he set the MLS record for the most minutes without allowing a goal to begin a season.
He has led the Sounders to the Western Conference semifinals in the last 2 seasons and the sky’s the limit this post-season.
One of his most famous matches is when he made 10 saves, many of which were stellar and at point-blank range, in a 1-0 shutout win over Brazil in 1998. After the match Brazilian soccer legend Romário stated, “That is the best performance by a goalkeeper I have ever seen.”
You want awards?
OK, how about the fact that Keller has won the Western Soccer League MVP and Western Soccer League top goalie in 1989, was the Honda Player of the Year in 1999 and 2005, and the U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year in 1997, 1999, and 2005.
The Sounders gave him a great sendoff in his last MLS regular season match at Qwest Field being honored in front of the 3rd biggest crowd ever for a MLS match.
Oh yeah, in the 2-1 Seattle win Keller was the main reason Seattle won 2-1 making several great saves.
No matter how the Sounders do in the playoffs, I would not bet against them, Keller will not only go out as one of the greatest MLS goalies ever, but one of the best American goalies, or soccer players for that matter, of all time.
I would say THE best, but Brad Friedel and his fans may have a thing or two to say about that.