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July 9, 2013 at 1:19 PM

Kasey Keller to fill in as goalkeeper coach for the USMNT in Gold Cup quarterfinals

keller coachSounders FC broadcaster Kasey Keller was serving as an assistant goalkeeper coach to Tommy Dutra in Tuesday’s practice. Keller, a goalkeeping legend in American soccer, had a reason behind it — he’s going to serve as goalkeeper coach for the U.S. men’s national team starting in the CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinals.

USMNT coach Jurgen Klinsmann called in the favor after goalkeeping coach Chris Woods left the national team for Manchester United.

Keller talked about the news after practice, and here is a transcript:

*     *     *

(What led to you doing some work here as a goalkeeper coach?) “For me it was a little favor, just because Klinsmann asked me if I could come in and (coach the goalkeepers) for the quarterfinals through the finals of the Gold Cup. I needed to kick a few balls before I did that so my leg didn’t fall off when I got in there. But it’s cool. They let me come out and help Tommy out for a few days, hopefully get in a little bit of shape for when I go out to serve with the national team.”

(What does the opportunity mean for you?) “It’s nice. It’s nice to be asked. The club was very accommodating. I have to miss a couple of games obviously and they thought it was cool. So it’s a little tricky timing-wise, and I hate having to miss games with the Sounders, but the national team is the national team, and that’s kind of the way the club felt. I said, ‘It’s up to you guys. I’m happy whatever. If you don’t want me to do it, I’m happy not to do it,’ because obviously I have a commitment that I’ve made. But it worked out for everybody, so it’s nice. Like I said, I spent a lot of time with the national team and it’s nice to kind of give back a little bit.”

(Do you have much of an existing relationship with Klinsmann?) “Yeah, we’ve known each other for years. Not a super close relationship, but we’ve certainly known each other. Obviously I see him a lot when I’m broadcasting with ESPN, and it was just something that’s it’s a little tricky situation with Chris Woods as the goalkeeping coach and now at Man. U. Sometimes in these circumstances Jurgen needs a little bit of help, and like I said, it’s an honor to be asked.”

(Do you hope this turns into a more permanent gig?) “No, not really. It’s what it is. Like I said, I was happy to help out Tab with the under-20s, and … for example, with the under-20s, you don’t miss a game. For the full national team it’s a little bit different ball game. It’s a little interesting on that side of it. It’s nice being involved with the national team programs when it works, and this is just one of those situations that we’re making it work, put it that way.”

(So the coaching itch isn’t growing?) “I mean, like I said, I enjoy coaching. I enjoy helping it out, but right now I’m very happy with my broadcasting and I’ve got a couple years left on that contract. I’m happy to keep pursuing that.”

(When was the last time you kicked a ball?) “It was with the under-20s, and so that was I don’t know how long ago now — 10 weeks ago. Before that it was probably six months before that. I’m not worried about the ability. I’m just worried about fatigue and after three, four days my leg falling off. So I want to just get a little bit of work it and make sure that I’m able to perform for the guys on the national team.”

(Was Hahnemann heckling you?) “Marcus, he can’t even stay fit. Did I ever get injured when I was here? And I’m older than he is.”

(Did you get hit in the head a few times?) “Once or twice, but I’m all right.”

(And you’ll be staying how long again?) “Quarterfinals through the final or whenever they get knocked out, so hopefully (through) the final.”

(What it like coaching your former teammates and replacement?) “It’s nice. It was fun to come back out and be back a part of the team a little bit. But like I said, just a couple days. It’s always nice to be out. I’ve been close to everybody still through the broadcasting ties and seeing everybody. Little bit different, but still fun — as long as they don’t make me put any gloves on.”

(So you didn’t get the itch to come out of retirement?) “Absolutely not. To kick a ball? Yeah, I hope so. If I forgot how to kick a ball, I’m in a lot of trouble. But no moment to say I need to go out there and be diving around at all.”

(So if the injuries start to pile up…) “No, hopefully they have a lot better options.”

(Shut down the Brett Favre talk?) “Yeah, shut it down. Stop printing the jerseys.”

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