For Sounders legends Sigi Schmid and Kasey Keller, today's news is much more than just another addition to their respective lists of accomplishments in the sport of soccer.
Schmid’s list includes championships at the collegiate and professional levels. Keller’s includes four World Cups and over 100 caps for the U.S. National Team. This morning it was announced that their entire bodies of work would be honored, as the two have been elected to the National Soccer Hall of Fame.
Of all the accolades they’ve earned, Schmid and Keller say this is undoubtedly among the best.
“It’s certainly right up there with the top moments I’ve experienced in this sport,” Schmid said. “It’s a reflection of your peers acknowledging what you’ve done, and it’s a reflection of the body of your work. So this is something I am very proud of.”
“It’s one of those things that’s a huge honor once you really realize how difficult it is to get into the U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame,” Keller added. “You do your job in a particular way, and you hope that people respect what you have done and how you have done things. You don’t do it necessarily to get accolades, but it is nice when people acknowledge what you’ve done. I am proud and honored.”
Keller, now a Sounders FC broadcaster, has been elected on the Player Ballot in his first year of eligibility. He became eligible by being retired for three years and having appeared in at least 20 matches for the National Team.
Schmid has been elected on the Builder Ballot, which is for those who have made their mark in American soccer in a non-playing capacity. The current Sounders FC Head Coach was voted in over eight other candidates, including MLS Commissioner Don Garber.
His coaching career is far from over, but when Schmid looks back on the first 35 years, he realizes that the relationships with players are what make it such an enjoyable profession.
“The biggest thing for me is the players that I have had the privilege of coaching and the players that have become friends,” Schmid said. “The relationships and friendships that have existed beyond coaching players — That, for me, is the biggest reward. That is bigger than the trophies or any of the awards, just knowing that you have been meaningful in someone’s life.”
Keller is one of those who had the privilege of playing for Schmid. He became the first American goalkeeper to play regularly in La Liga, the English Premier League and the Bundesliga before finishing his career with three seasons in Seattle.
While he played just a few years of pro soccer in the U.S., his contributions to the National Team are undeniable. Keller is on the short list of players who helped the American game evolve to what it is today.
“When I look at where soccer was when I left [for Europe] in 1991, compared to where it is now, it’s an amazing growth rate,” Keller said. “It’s been cool to know that I have been a part of that history. And to have that culmination of being voted to the Hall of Fame, it’s such a big honor.”