Kasey Keller’s unlikely journey from growing up on an egg farm in Lacey to playing soccer in Europe and today in Seattle for the Sounders FC is about overcoming.
And it’s about dedication and hard work.
Now, his inspirational story is in book form. “Mighty Kasey” is a children’s book written in rhyme fashion, telling Keller’s story with a sense of humor.
“It’s fun,” said Keller, arguably the best goalkeeper to come out of the United States. “The underlying story is it doesn’t matter where you start. But if you give it everything you have and you work hard, you’ll be able to achieve your dreams.”
Keller and the book’s author, Jarrett Mentink, will be at Lacey’s Skyhawk Park at 1 p.m. today for a book signing.
“Kasey has been a fun book to do,” Mentink said. “He’s such a good role model.”
Mentink, a professor at Seattle Pacific University, took two months to write the 32-page children’s book about Keller. Patrick Carlson took another two months to illustrate the book.
Keller asked for a few revisions in the book. Initially, Keller was bald in every illustration.
“I said, ‘Come on, really?’ ” Keller said with a laugh. “But I wasn’t bald in college.”
So, with revisions, his hairline tells a story.
“It goes from the 80s, 90s mullet stuff to where I am today,” said Keller, who is now bald.
“So, there’s a funny progression of hair loss throughout the book, which is pretty amazing.”
One of Keller’s favorite parts is about naming the places in Europe where he played. After starring at North Thurston High School and then at the University of Portland, he played for Rayo Vallecano, Tottenham Hotspur, Borussia Monchengladbach, Leicester City and Fulham.
“I think one of the funny parts is when they’re trying to pronounce all the teams I’ve played for,” Keller said. “There’s some very clever prose throughout.”
It’s Mentink’s fourth children’s book on a Seattle sports icon. He’s also written stories on Shaun Alexander, Brett Boone and Ken Griffey Jr.
“It’s nice to be part of that group,” Keller said. “This wasn’t something I had to think about too hard once the project got going. It’s something I’m very happy to be a part of.”
Keller’s portion of profits will go to the King Country Boys and Girls Club.
Gail Wood: 360-754-5443 firstname.lastname@example.org