Kelly wins USL Golden Boot
TAMPA, Florida (CMC):
Dane Kelly has collected the first United Soccer League Golden Boot award of his career. The Jamaican striker is the leading all-time scorer in the USL, the second-tier tournament in the game in the United States, and grabbed the award following another successful season of scoring for the Western Conference's third-best side, Reno 1868 FC.
Kelly's was one of three statistical awards that the league announced on Monday, following the conclusion of the regular season last Sunday.
"This is a tremendous honour," said Kelly. "I have to give a lot of credit to my teammates for putting me in a position to score 18 goals this year.
"This is a great accomplishment for me in my career, but also the Reno fan base, who has been with us from the beginning. Our mission isn't over yet, but it is nice to be recognised like this."
The 26-year-old Kelly recorded a career-high season with 18 goals in the regular season, as Reno set a USL single-season record with 75 goals in its inaugural campaign. He also became the first player to surpass 50 goals in the USL since the league's inception six years ago.
Kelly has scored 66 goals in the USL regular season in the last five years, and this year, his performance in the league led to his selection to the Jamaica national team for the first time in September.
Kelly missed the last few of Reno's matches, due to a hamstring injury, and it is doubtful he will recover in time to face OKC Energy on Saturday at the Greater Nevada field in a USL Western Conference quarter-final.
The league also announced that Kelly's Reno teammate Chris Wehan was the Assist Champion, after setting a new USL record with 12 assists.
Wehan finished third on the Reno scoring list with eight goals and will be a leading candidate for USL Rookie of the Year award.