HOUSTON - OCTOBER 23: Goalkeeper Kasey Keller #18 of the Seattle Sounders looks on during a stoppage in play during play against the Houston Dynamo at Robertson Stadium on October 23 2010 in Houston Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
This really shouldn't come as much of a surprise, but the Seattle Sounders are close to hiring Kasey Keller to be their color commentator for the 2012 MLS season, according to Joshua Mayers. A color commentator spot seemed to be Keller's most likely role with the team ever since he retired and made it clear that he he hoped to remain with the Sounders in some capacity.
This should be a great move for both parties. The Sounders get the obvious bounce of having easily the most beloved soccer player in Puget Sound history on their payroll and spreading the word. With Arlo White leaving the booth to move to NBC Sports, it will also give Sounders fans a recognizable voice on the broadcast. From Keller's perspective, it allows him to get even more familiar with the league and provides a nice bridge to a possible move into scouting or some other front office position.
The only danger, if there is one, is that Keller could very well overshadow whoever is hired to be the play-by-play guy. Keller is a big personality who has no shortage of thoughts to share and after two years of a solo booth, it's probably going to sound a bit crowded on the broadcast. Hiring the color guy first also feels a bit like hiring your offensive coordinator before picking your head coach, to steal an analogy. Of course, it also looks like the Sounders have narrowed the field to just a few names, so maybe those formal announcements will come in unison.
On the other hand, hiring Keller maybe gives the new play-by-play guy some leeway. Since the focus is bound to be on Keller, at least early on, the new guy should have a little more time to get comfortable.