Kasey Keller on Alex Morgan: “She’s dominated the game for years!”
View from the States on Spurs Women striker
Tue 10 November 2020, 16:00|Tottenham Hotspur
The US national team, World Cups, the Olympics, a multi-time US Soccer Athlete of the Year, Seattle Sounders and now Spurs… our former goalkeeper Kasey Keller shares a handful of common interests with Alex Morgan – and he’s given the Spurs Women striker, who made her debut for the Club on Saturday, a glowing reference.
A popular figure between the posts for the Club in the Premier League between 2001 and 2004, making 99 appearances in our colours, Kasey spent the majority of his career plying his trade across Europe in England, Spain and Germany before returning to the US – for whom he played at four World Cups and the 1996 Olympic Games – for one lust hurrah with Seattle Sounders in his home State of Washington.
It was there that the veteran stopper crossed paths with Women’s striker Alex, who was just starting to establish herself in the game on her way to becoming a global superstar.
With Alex having joined the Sounders in 2012, just as Kasey was transitioning from a player to a role in the commentary box, the now-50-year-old was able to see first-hand how effective she is on the pitch.
“Alex is married to one of my ex-team-mates with the Sounders, Servando Carrasco – he was a rookie and came out of university in my final year in 2011, so for those first couple of years, Alex was based up here,” explained Kasey.
“It’s been interesting to see them as two professional athletes trying to manage their professional careers and personal lives. When we were playing together, Alex was just really breaking through into the national team and starting to make a name for herself and then her career really took off.”
Having seen Alex around and about on the football scene and knowing her abilities as he does, what does Kasey expect the forward to bring to Spurs as she looks to build on her initial substitute appearance against Reading – her first competitive match in over a year following the birth of her daughter – with a trip to Bristol City up next on Saturday (kick-off 6.30pm, live on The FA Player) as part of the second annual Women’s Football Weekend?
“She is very dominant with her pace and has scored lots of goals,” he said. “She’s a striker who uses her pace and plays off the shoulder of the last defender and really tries to make runs in behind – that’s always been her strength. As everybody gets a little bit older, they get a little bit wiser. I haven’t really noticed that she’s necessarily lost a step yet from the early years which is great – that still will be the hallmark of what she’s able to do at Spurs. Because of that ability, she’s dominated for years and obviously has a ton of experience on the international scene as the US Women’s team has been the major player in Women’s World Cups and the Olympics.”
Alex’s arrival here at Spurs in September made headlines around the world. Billboards in London showed pictures of her in her Spurs shirt and the reaction across the pond was equally one of excitement.
Kasey explained: “The professional league over here in the States has had its different incarnations and then with COVID-19, they had a much shortened season, which then allowed a lot of the players to pursue that ‘double season’ – to go over to Europe and have some opportunities there. I know that the European leagues continue to get better as more of the clubs put even more of an emphasis on the female side. I think it’s great for the clubs like Spurs and it’s great for the female athletes themselves. The American girls have seen their male national team compatriots and the experiences that they’ve been able to have over in Europe like I did, and now they can enjoy that too. It’s great to see.
“We’ve seen some of the news from over here – there’s obviously Tottenham and Alex Morgan, we know Tobin Heath has signed for Manchester United and what that means, and some of the other women are playing in France and Germany. It’s really cool, it’s fantastic to see European clubs really provide these opportunities and I think it’ll only pay dividends on a national scale as well, as the competition continues to improve. That will only make the sport that much more appealing to the masses, knowing that it isn’t just a handful of countries that can compete, and I think it’ll also help when you have people like Alex, who has been at the top of the women’s game for several years now, being able to go and compete with the English women and the other internationals that have come in to play.”
Finally, how does Kasey feel to see Alex wearing our colours, having himself enjoyed such a strong rapport with our fanbase during his time here?
“Obviously it’s great!” he smiled. “Any time you can make a big signing, it’s amazing, but what I just love seeing is the club making a big commitment to the women’s league and to the sport itself. It’s excellent to see.”