CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The Charlotte Independence announced on Thursday it had signed forward Dane Kelly for the 2021 season. The new addition finalizes the attacking selection for the Jacks and adds another level of scoring potential to an already strong and agile roster of players.
“Being able to bring Dane back to the Independence for 2021 is a major coup for our organization,” said Charlotte Independence General Manager and Head Coach, Mike Jeffries. “Dane was an integral part of our success last year; he represents the finishing element to our roster and will mesh seamlessly with our current group. I am excited about Dane rejoining us and continuing to add to his USL Championship leading tally.”
Kelly played 16 games with the Jacks during the 2020 season totaling 1,344 minutes played. He notched 11 goals with 47 shots on frame. As the marquee scorer of the USL Championship, Kelly holds the regular-season scoring record with 88 goals which have come in 205 appearances, where he ranks fourth all-time.
“I am excited to be back for another season with the Charlotte Independence,” said Kelly. “We made a great playoff run last year, so I look forward to reconnecting with teammates on the pitch and picking up where we left off.”
Jamaican international Dane Kelly recorded 11 goals in 16 games for the Charlotte Independence during the 2020 USL Championship season to help lead the club to the postseason. | Photo courtesy Rob Kinnan / North Carolina FC
Kelly most recently competed for Ihud Bnei Sakhnin of the Israeli Premier League, where he recorded 17 appearances over recent months and scored once in domestic cup competition Gavia haMedina. He returns to the Independence looking to add to a record that has seen him be named three times to the Championship’s All-League Team and on six occasions record double-digit goals in a season.
Kelly claimed the Championship’s Golden Boot and MVP award in 2017 at Reno 1868 FC as he scored a career-best 18 goals in the campaign, and subsequently received his first call-up to the Jamaica Men’s National Team. Since 2018, the Saint Catherine Parish, Jamaica native has capped four times for the Reggae Boyz, scoring two goals.
Kelly began his career with the Jamaican side Tivoli Gardens in 2010 and then moved to the Championship’s Charleston Battery to begin the 2011 season, where he would play five seasons. In 2016, he signed with Sporting Kansas City II and helped the side reach the USL Championship Final in its inaugural season before joining Reno in 2017.