Top soccer players to showcase skills at Reliant

HOUSTON The world's top-rated free kickers face the world's best goalies. One of those goalies is American Kasey Keller, and while a lot of money's at stake this weekend, Keller knows what real pressure is all about.

The winning goalie on Saturday night gets a half-million dollars; the top free kicker $1 million.

"They have like 30-40 of those (kickers), there's only four or five of us. So our odds are a little bit better," goalie Kasey Keller said Wednesday.

And while Keller, who's been part of four World Cup teams, would love $500,000, he won't be overwhelmed by the moment. After all, in 1991, he was one of the first Americans to play in England. and his first team was Millwall.

"Millwall were the founders of hooliganism," Keller said.

In other words, the fans of Millwall tolerate nothing less than the best, especially from an American goalie. Keller was so good, he became a fan favorite. So the fans never came after him, but they did come to his defense.

"A fan was chasing that player around the field ... for my benefit, for my defense," he said.

Philadelphia sports fans are noted for being rough on local athletes, but Philly ain't Milwall.

"There's actually conflicts between the police on horeback fighting fans behind my goal as the games were going on. So, I've never seen that at a Philadelphia Eagles game, where the police are fighting fans on horseback while the game is still going on," Keller said.

Saturday night, the action will be on the pitch. Twenty-four players will be divided into six groups of four and the six goalies will be assigned a group. The best player and best goalie advance until winners are determined.

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