Saturday, 15 October 2011

Seattle Sounders honour career of Keller

USA: Keller appearing for Foxes in 1997
Seattle Sounders will honour the career of former Leicester City goalkeeper Kasey Keller as he makes his final league appearance in the MLS tonight.

The American keeper - who played for the Foxes under Martin O'Neill between 1996-1999 - will be greeted by a record crowd at the Sounders' CenturyLink Field ground as they face San Jose Earthquakes tonight. Filling the entire NFL stadium for a soccer match is unheard of and stands as testament to a legend of American soccer.

“I look at the calendar and I see that I’m going to be 42 next month," reflected Keller, "At some stage, it’s all going to come to an end very rapidly. And I just don’t want that to happen in the middle of a season. I just don’t want to not be able to train, not be able to play, not be able to perform at the level that I’m used to, that you’re used to, that the club, the fans, that everybody is used to, and be stumbling around out there because of my name and that kind of stuff. I think it just feels like it’s the right time: I want to go out on my terms."

Keller became the first American to play in England when he joined Millwall at the tender age of 22 and, after accruing over 200 appearances for the Lions he became the first Yank to play in the Premier League when he joined Leicester for £900,000.

During his four years at Filbert Street Keller was in goal as Martin O'Neill's side won the Coca-Cola Cup in 1997 and he appeared at Wembley again when the Foxes met Tottenham Hotspur in the same event two years later. In total, Keller made just short of the magical hundred appearances for Leicester City and moved to Spain for two seasons before returning to England for a successful spell with Spurs. A loan stint at Southampton and a foray into Germany followed. He made his final appearances in England for Fulham before joining Sounders in 2009.

Tonight's league closer will not be Keller's last game for the Sounders, as he hopes to lead the team into the MLS Cup Final and his side will host a CONCACAF Champions League fixture next week. However it will stand as the final regular season game in a long and successful career spanning both sides of the continent.

Edited 16/10/2011 11:05 - It was erroneously stated that Kasey Keller joined Seattle Sounders in 1999. The goalkeeper in fact joined the club in 2009 and this has been amended (via @jglover12)

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