KIRKLAND, WASH. – The Seattle Sounders FC signed American goalkeeper Kasey Keller to a multi-year contract, the team announced today. Keller is the second player to sign with the club, whose inaugural season begins in 2009.
Keller is a four-time World Cup participant and one of the first American goalkeepers to become a regular in the English Premier League. He was named U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year an unprecedented three times (1997, 1999 and 2005).
“Kasey is arguably the top goalkeeper that the United States has ever produced,” said General Manager Adrian Hanauer. “He is a natural leader and those leadership qualities should be of enormous value to Sounders FC.”
Born in Olympia, Keller has played more than 600 matches for club and country. He has earned an American goalkeeper record of 102 international caps and 53 wins for USA, including 47 shutouts. In his only previous professional appearances in Seattle, Keller did not allow a goal in three international wins, including two at Qwest Field.
He has appeared in four World Cups, captained the 1996 Olympics team, and was part of three CONCACAF Gold Cup championship runs. Keller was named MVP of the 1998 Gold Cup as the USA blanked Brazil 1-0. He is the only player to be part of a national team at both the 1990 and 2006 World Cups.
An All-American and national goalkeeper of the year at the University of Portland, Keller played over 300 matches in three of the world’s top leagues: England’s Premier League, Spain’s La Liga and Germany’s Bundesliga.
Signed by the England’s Millwall, Keller made his professional debut in the First Division on May 2, 1992. He started 51 consecutive matches in the 1992-93 season, registering 16 clean sheets and conceding only 53 goals. A fan favorite, Keller was voted team Player of the Year by the Millwall supporters.
After four years with Millwall, Keller was transferred to Leicester City of the English Premier League. In his first year with Leicester, Keller was central to the team’s success in the Premiership and winning the 1997 League Cup. Keller spent three seasons with Leicester City before leaving to play two seasons for Rayo Vallecano of top Spanish league La Liga. He returned to the Premier League with Tottenham Hotspur, and played every minute for the Spurs in the 2002-03 and 2003-04 seasons.
On January 15, 2005, Keller joined German side Borussia Mönchengladbach where he played for two seasons before returning for a third stint in the Premier League, and once again with a London club, signing a one-year deal with Fulham.
“When I started my career in Europe, I always said that I wanted to finish playing back at home in the U.S,” said Keller. “I wasn't sure that dream was ever going to come true. I still can't believe it's a reality.”
As a former U.S. National Team player coming into the League, Keller is subject to enter the League via the allocation rankings. As an expansion team in 2009, Seattle held the number one allocation ranking, which the club used to acquire Keller.
Birthplace: Olympia, Washington