Photo courtesy David Calvert / Reno 1868 FC
TAMPA, Fla. – The United Soccer League announced on Wednesday Reno 1868 FC’s Dane Kelly had been voted the 2017 USL Most Valuable Player, as the Jamaican international led the league with 18 goals in a record-setting season for the 2017 USL expansion club.
Kelly received 55 percent of the vote to earn the award, with the Charlotte Independence’s Enzo Martinez finishing second on 30 percent and Real Monarchs SLC’s Chandler Hoffman third with 15 percent.
The 2017 USL Awards were voted on by team management and a league-wide media panel that included representation from every USL market. Voting was conducted following the conclusion of the 2017 USL regular season.
“A player like me, who has been playing in the league for such a long time, to be awarded the Golden Boot earlier in the season and then get the MVP award, it means so much to me,” said Kelly. “I couldn’t have done any of this without the help of my Reno 1868 FC family, so I have to say kudos to them for helping me have such a good season.”
The first signing in Reno 1868 FC, Kelly entered the season as the USL’s modern-era leader with 48 regular-season goals, but he had not claimed the league’s Golden Boot since arriving in the league in 2012. The Jamaican claimed May’s USL Player of the Month award after a remarkable six-game scoring streak that saw him record a hat trick in back-to-back games, a first in the league’s history, as he moved to 66 regular-season goals for his career.
Kelly’s performance helped Reno set a single-season USL record with 75 goals in the regular season, and also saw Kelly called up to the Jamaica National Team for the first time this past September for the Reggae Boyz’s international exhibition against Canada in Toronto, where Kelly made his first appearance at any level for his country.
2017 USL Awards
Goalkeeper of the Year: Diego Restrepo, San Antonio FC
Coach of the Year: Mark Briggs, Real Monarchs SLC
Defender of the Year: Sebastien Ibeagha, San Antonio FC
Rookie of the Year: Chris Wehan, Reno 1868 FC
Most Valuable Player: Dane Kelly, Reno 1868 FC