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December 17, 2010 at 11:28 AM

Kasey Keller signs extension through 2011, his final season

Lots going on this afternoon. Here’s the release:

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Kasey Keller Signs Contract Extension

Goalkeeper Returns for 20th Professional Season

RENTON, WASH. – The Seattle Sounders FC has signed goalkeeper Kasey Keller to a contract extension for the 2011 Major League Soccer season. Per MLS and club policy, terms were not disclosed.

Keller, 41, will be playing his 20th professional season and his third in Seattle. The Olympia, Washington native played 17 seasons in Europe before becoming the third player signed by Sounders FC in 2008.

“In these two years with the Sounders, I’ve been very happy with the form of myself and the team. Throw in the fact that Portland and Vancouver are coming into the league, and there was no question that I wanted to play one last season,” said Keller. “My mind’s great, my body feels great and so I feel this can be a great and successful season for the Sounders and myself.”

“Kasey only wanted to come back if he was playing at or near the top of his game,” said Owner and General Manager Adrian Hanauer. “He is still quick, still a great shot-stopper and a great organizer in the back. And as great as he has been on the field, he has been an even greater ambassador for Sounders FC and the game. We are happy to have him back with us in 2011.”

In his first two years back home, Keller was twice selected to the MLS All-Star team. In 2009 he was a finalist for MLS Goalkeeper of the Year, Newcomer of the Year, and Fair Play Award and was voted by teammates the Sounders FC most valuable player. This past season he won MLS Save of the Year and ranked second in the league in shutouts (11) and third in wins (14). Five of his 82 saves were voted MLS Save of the Week.

Sounders FC won the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in both 2009 and 2010, and has qualified for the MLS Cup Playoffs each season.

Added Keller: “Adrian and I have a great relationship, and the club has been extremely cooperative. It’s been nice to win two Open Cups in our first two seasons. But I would love to finish my career with an MLS championship. I’m looking forward to this season and hopefully bringing that championship home to Seattle.

“I am happy Kasey is returning,” said Head Coach Sigi Schmid. “His composure and quality are invaluable assets for our teams as we continue our drive for success.”

Keller has served as the Rave Green’s captain each season and has played in 59 of 60 regular season matches, and has played more minutes (5204) than any keeper. In 2010 he ranked sixth among MLS players in total minutes (2655) and, including playoffs, he has started 59 consecutive matches entering 2011. Keller also assisted on one goal. His 457 scoreless minutes to begin the 2009 season is an MLS record.

A three-time U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year, Keller has been a member of four World Cup teams and won three CONCACAF Gold Cups. He holds the goalkeeper records of 102 international caps, 53 wins and 47 shutouts for the U.S. National Team.

Prior to his return home, Keller played in three of Europe’s top-flight leagues: English Premier League, Spain’s La Liga and Germany’s Bundesliga.

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