Seattle’s newspaper, The Seattle Times caught up with one of the USA’s greatest keepers of all-time, Kasey Keller. The conversation took a strong lifestyle angle as it spoke little about Keller’s actual job as custodian of hometown Seattle Sounders, instead delving into the relatively unknown leisurely pursuits of the former Borussia Mönchengladbach shot stopper.
A series of excerpts below highlight his passion for opening up his Porsche on the open road, his favorite defensive partners in crime, and – ending off on a sweet note – with talk of desserts and candy.
Q: You’ve mentioned before about trying to get out to Pacific Raceways to race your Porsche, can you tell me about that?
Keller: I haven’t [gone] yet, but have been wanting to for a long time and meaning to do it. You get so used to driving fast in Germany and just enjoying that side of it, it would be nice to have that feeling again somewhere. That’s the tough part about driving in America … you’re supposed to stick pretty close to a speed limit.
My Porsche is race tuned, suspension and everything. It got opened up in Germany but never here.
We were trying to do it one time in Germany where we all were going to try and go to Nürburgring. The problem with open days on Nürburgring is you just have every kind of vehicle known to man. You’ll be on the track with a top-of-the line race Porsche and then a panel van and then a motorcycle. I think they average about 12-15 deaths a year on open track days.
It is an incredible track … I think the long version, might be 17 kilometers … and I think it has over 1,000 feet of elevation change, it’s crazy … and very narrow.
Q: Did you have anything in your contracts through the years that prevented you from doing stuff like this?
Keller: A lot of time in contracts there is a vague statement that will state that you’re not supposed to do anything that puts yourself in undo harm, but kind of the way that they get around it is to say statistically the most dangerous thing you can do is drive to work and so if you have to drive to work and that’s the most dangerous, so then everything else you do must be not as dangerous.
I think it all comes down to if you get injured doing something you pretty much know you shouldn’t have done, then obviously you and the club are going to get into a fight on if they have to pay you or not and that kind of stuff. So the theory is either make up something really good or just don’t do it. [Laughing]
And, I think what it came down to is we knew that we would have to get permission from the club and if something did go wrong it wouldn’t be a big problem.
Q: In your career, you’ve played with a ton of defenders, especially central defenders, can you single out a few that were on the same wavelength as you or read the game like you did?
Keller: I think wherever I played, and it was very nice, I ended up not getting injured much, so I played a lot of games with the same group of guys. As a goalkeeper, as least what happened with me, is as I got older, I got more vocal, more confidence, more experience, you feel like people are more likely to listen to you so then you speak more.
So, maybe when I was younger, I would come for crosses and wasn’t quite as vocal and what was really nice at Milwall when I was starting out I had a couple very experienced players in front of me. One player in particular who played most every game that I played was Keith Stevens, who was a great guy … he was just a great person to have in front of me at that time.
And then I went to Leicester City and had a very good group of centerbacks as well, I had three guys, Steve Walsh, Matt Elliott and Spencer Prior, who were all 6-3, 6-4, just this big crew of guys, so if I had that doubt like “Oh, should I come, or not come, oh no, my boys will take care of it.” So that was a lot of fun having that.
The best pure talent that I had in front of me was probably Ledley King at Tottenham. Unfortunately, he’s had just a hard time staying fit. He was young when I started playing with him, 19 years old … he had everything, absolutely everything, from size, speed, feet, passing … just absolute talent … and he was a pleasure to play with.
And then the last guy I wanted to mention … and has really proven to be a great player and I knew that he was going to be is Brede Hangeland at Fulham. You could really see that he had something and was going to do a good job.
I say to most guys in front me or everybody in front of me at different times, “If I don’t say anything, then it’s your ball. And even if I call for the ball, if you smash the ball in the 10th row, I’ve got no problem. My problem is if you just don’t clear it, so safety first, we’ll discuss it later.” And I think it’s worked out pretty well.
Q: Do you have a weakness for any junk food or have a sweet tooth?
Keller: If it was possible, I could eat just desserts. Oh yeah. If I could have a three-course meal of just desserts, that would be awesome.
Q: Would they be chocolate-based?
Keller: No … the best for me is soufflés. So, the main course would have to be some sort of soufflé. You could have a starter with some sort of berry-type pie could be pretty nice. Then you have to kind of probably bring it down a little bit and go with some kind of really rich sorbet or something like that to finish it off with your coffee — would be a pretty good meal.