A student of goal-post modernism

Trevor Haylett talks to the Millwall keeper who, as well as studying so ciology, is learning much from the English game `When I came over and saw the old Den I remember thinking... this is kind of in teresting'

Kasey Keller is an outstanding goalkeeper with a difference. While many in his position examine the weaknesses of their opponents, he has studied the failings of his fellow footballers on a much wider scale.

Keller, who joined Millwall from an American college, is completing his sociology degree, and on the question of sports ethics he chose a potentially fascinating subject: infidelity and the professional athlete. Which explains his interest in the extra-curricular activity of the fit and famous.

As a result, the conversation, in advance of tonight's FA Cup replay with Chelsea, took a welcome turn away from whether zonal marking or a sweeper defence would best succeed. "The question I was trying to answer was whether, by nature, professional athletes cheat more on their wives or girlfriends, or whether it is just the case that the opportunity is there for them. Also there is the publicity factor, because you are less likely to read about it, if it involves somebody less well known.

"There wasn't the time to undertake any personal research," he said, without a trace of a smile. In any case he is happily married. "So it was basically a matter of collating information from American sports. There was the Magic Johnson situation, and Wilt Chamberlain, the former basketball star who is reckoned to have slept with 10,000 women.

"You know, in America it would not be unusual for Magic Johnson to travel to an away game and find 25 women waiting for him outside the hotel. I talked the subject over with some of my team-mates at Millwall, not to pry into their own personal experiences but to find out what would happen if they went to a night-club with a friend, who was not a footballer, who would have the most opportunities?

"Of course the player does, but it also true that the friend may have more opportunities through being with the player than would otherwise be the case. The fact that they were with someone who other people recognised seemed to be a help."

At which point the thought occurred that, having won at Nottingham Forest in the Coca-Cola Cup earlier in the season, and at Arsenal in the third round of the FA Cup, Millwall rather enjoy playing away from home but it was a poor-taste joke, best resisted. It makes the point, though, that Keller and his team have no reason to fear the Stamford Bridge replay.

"The first game with Chelsea was similar to the first with Arsenal - pretty tight with few chances. After Highbury we certainly don't think we've lost any advantage by going to a replay."

The 25-year-old, in his third full season in English football, has proved to be just about the most consistent of the foreign legion who challenge the assumption that no country produces goalkeepers like England. There has been no looking back since he first impressed Millwall in a trial even though it cost him the chance to represent his country, the host nation, in last summer's World Cup.

Bizarrely, the United States denied themselves his big-game experience because, he suspects, his preferred choice to learn his trade at the sharp end, instead of committing himself to a two-year World Cup preparation at home, upset the powers that mattered.

Promises were made and not kept, but while many feel he was harshly treated, Keller refuses to say so publicly. "I just found it slightly strange that there was two of us - me and Jurgen Sommer of Luton - holding down regular places in one of the hardestleagues of all and supposedly competing for only the third goalkeeping place."

It was a contact of Bruce Rioch, Mick McCarthy's predecessor at Millwall, who first alerted the club to Keller's potential. You wonder how much he knew of the club's reputation as a home to some of the most infamous supporters around.

"I had heard of Millwall because I had a friend who used to send me tapes of English games, but it came as a bit of a shock when I telephoned one of my professors, a Scotsman, in America telling him what I was going to do. `Millwall!' he said. `They're crazy down there.' When I came over and saw the old Den for the first time I remember thinking... this is kind of interesting. From what I was used to, it definitely was not the Rose Bowl in Pasadena."

South London soon felt like home, however, and having his girlfriend Kristin, now Mrs Keller, around helped him to settle down. Millwall's transfer to a new ground confirmed that he had joined a club on the move. From time to time, his outstanding displays have brought him a mention in connection with some of the biggest clubs and, though it would take a lot of money now for Millwall to let him go, Keller believes at some time in the future the lure of experiencing football elsewhere in Europe or Japan will be irresistible. Then it will be back home to the States and a new life.

"There's a big market for the game over there now and hopefully the right situation might come along for me in, say, about 10 years. It could be as a coach, a player-manager, an owner, a secretary, who knows. Whichever way someone wants to make use of the education and experience I have gained over here."

In 2006, Pluto was reclassified as a 'dwarf planet'
scienceBut will it be reinstated?
Jennifer Lawrence at the Vanity Fair Academy Awards party in February 2014
people12 undisclosed female victims are seeking $100m in damages
Arts and Entertainment
Adam Levine plays a butcher who obsessively stalks a woman in Maroon 5's 'Animals' music video
music'Animals' video 'promotes sexual violence against women'
people Biographer says cinema’s enduring sex symbol led a secret troubled life
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
voicesI like surprises - that's why I'm bringing them back to politics, writes Nigel Farage
Bear and hare woodland scene from John Lewis Christmas advert
newsRetailer breaks with tradition, selling real festive fir trees online for the first time
Arts and Entertainment
Anthony Horowitz will write the next 007 novel
booksAnthony Horowitz to write new instalment in spy series for 2015
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer

Kirstie Allsopp has waded into the female fertility debate again

Kicking on: Nathaniel Clyne is relishing the challenge of the Premier League after moving from Crystal Palace
footballSurprises include a first ever call-up for one Southampton star
4 May 2013: The sun rises over Tower Bridge in London. Temperatures across the UK could be higher than several European holiday destinations by Monday, including parts of Italy and France (Andy Hepburn/PA)
The moon observed in visible light, topography and the GRAIL gravity gradients

...and it wasn't caused by an asteroid crash, as first thought

Researchers say a diet of fatty foods could impede smell abilities
scienceMeasuring the sense may predict a person's lifespan
newsGlobal index has ranked the quality of life for OAPs - but the UK didn't even make it into the top 10
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Digital Fundraising Analyst/Web Analyst - West Sussex - Permanent - £30k DOE

£25000 - £30000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Application Support Engineer – 6 month FTC – West Sussex - £26k-£28k pro rata

£26000 - £28000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...

English Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: English Teacher required for ...

Head of IT Change – West Sussex – Up to £60k DOE – Permanent

£55000 - £60000 Per Annum plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?