Photo courtesy David Calvert / Reno 1868 FC
TAMPA, Fla. – USL all-time leading scorer Dane Kelly of Reno 1868 FC earned the first USL Golden Boot of his career as the league announced its statistical awards on Monday, with Rochester Rhinos goalkeeper Tomas Gomez claiming his second consecutive USL Golden Glove and Reno 1868 FC’s Chris Wehan taking the Assists Champion award.
All three awards are based on statistical achievement during the 2017 USL regular season. The awards for Most Valuable Player, Rookie of the Year, Coach of the Year, Defender of the Year and Goalkeeper of the Year and the 2017 USL All-League Team will be announced in November.
Kelly recorded a career 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 in 2011. A selection to the USL All-League Team in 2014, Kelly has recorded 66 goals in the USL Regular Season since 2012, and this year, his performance earned Kelly his first selection to the Jamaica National Team in September.
Gomez claimed the USL Golden Glove for a second consecutive season, with his 0.73 goals-against average over 22 appearances leading the way in the league. Gomez recorded 11 shutouts over the season, second only to San Antonio FC’s Diego Restrepo’s 12. The award was a fourth consecutive Golden Glove for the Rhinos’ organization, which saw the honor claimed by John McCarthy (2014) and Brandon Miller (2015) prior to Gomez’s back-to-back awards.
Wehan was another standout performer in Reno 1868 FC’s inaugural season, as he tied the USL single-season record of 12 assists to be named Assists Champion. An undrafted rookie when he arrived in Reno, the former Sounders FC U23 midfielder linked up throughout the year with Kelly and Antoine Hoppenot to make a fearsome attack for the USL expansion side.
Kelly, Gomez and Wehan will all be in action when the 2017 USL Cup Playoffs begin this weekend, with Western Conference No. 3-seed Reno 1868 FC playing host to No. 6-seed OKC Energy FC at 8:45 p.m. ET from Greater Nevada Field on Saturday night. Gomez and the Eastern Conference No. 4-seed Rochester Rhinos will host the No. 5-seed Charlotte Independence on Saturday night at 6:05 p.m. ET from Capelli Sport Stadium.
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The 2017 USL Cup will air live on ESPNU and SiriusXM FC on Monday, Nov. 13 at 9 p.m. ET