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Jamaica striker Kelly bags USL Golden Boot award

AWARDED: Dane Kelly

DANE KELLY, who kicked off his career in his native Jamaica with Tivoli Gardens, collected the Golden Boot award as leading scoring for this season in the United Soccer League (USL).

The 26-year-old striker, who made his international debut for Jamaica's Reggae Boyz this year, won the prestigious prize following his highly successful season for Western Conference's Reno 1868 FC.

Kelly was talent spotted in Jamaica by USL outfit Charleston Battery in 2011, so moved to the US where he plied his trade for three years for the club and bagged 42 goals.

He picked up the side's 2014 Player of the Year award, and the following season become the USL's all-time leading scorer.

Kelly signed for Sporting Kansas City affiliate club Swope Park Rangers in December 2015, but only scored eight times in 24 appearances as his stay was hampered by a hamstring injury.

He joined Reno 1868 FC - their first ever signing - for their inaugural campaign in the USL, the second-tier in the USA behind the Major Soccer League (MSL), and netted a career-high 18 goals this term to help lift them to third in the league.

With Kelly becoming the first player to notch a half-century of USL goals, it was no surprise that he was called up by the Boyz for September's friendly against Canada.

He was one of a trio of USL players named in the squad against Canada, joining Louisville City FC midfielder Devon Williams and Charleston Battery's attacking midfielder Romario Williams, but Kelly was played as a lone forward without anyone supplying him and flopped badly - as did the entire team during a tepid display that was arguably the poorest performance since Theodore Whitmore returned as head coach.

However, Kelly is bound to be given another opportunity by Whitmore especially bearing in mind the problem that the Boyz have in scoring goals.

Jubilant Kelly enthused about winning the USL Golden Boot award: "This is a tremendous honour and a great accomplishment for me in my career, it's nice to be recognised."

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