There are nearly 900 active players in the United Soccer League. None of them scored more goals than Reno 1868 FC’s Dane Kelly this year.
Following one of the top seasons in USL history, Kelly took home the Golden Boot on Sunday. The award is given to the league’s top scorer at the end of the regular season.
Kelly’s 18 goals during the regular season added to the USL’s all-time leading scorer’s storied career.
The Jamaican international and Reno’s No. 9 scored two hat tricks this season leading a Reno attack that has notched 75 goals this year, the most in North American pro soccer.
Despite being called up to the Jamaican national team and a few weeks of injury recovery, Kelly was been able to maintain the league lead for weeks.
It is his first USL Golden Boot since playing in the league since 2011, the league’s inaugural year.
“This is a tremendous honor,” Kelly said. “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 fanbase who has been with us from the beginning. Our mission isn’t over yet, but it is nice to be recognized like this.”
Joining Kelly as a statistical champion this year is midfielder Chris Wehan.
Wehan was officially named USL Assist Champion on Monday after leading the league with 12 assists this season Those 12 assists tied a league-high (Matt Dallman, 2013). and helped Reno create one of the top attacks in all of U.S. Soccer.
An undrafted rookie from New Mexico, Wehan also added eight goals during the regular season, including one in each of Reno's final two matches. Wehan ranked third in the USL in chances created with 66 chances created this season.
Wehan was named one of the Top 5 Rookies by the USL this season and was voted Midseason Rookie of the Year by USL fans. Leading up to the Sacramento Republic FC match, Wehan spent time training with the San Jose Earthquakes (MLS).
Wehan is also one of the few players this year to record at least two goals and two assists in the same match. He recorded two goals and two assists during Reno's record-breaking 9-0 win over LA Galaxy II on July 3.
Wehan, Kelly and the rest of Reno 1868 FC are back in action on Saturday at Greater Nevada Field as the team hosts OKC Energy FC in the Western Conference quarterfinals.
Kickoff is at 5:25 p.m. and the first 2,000 fans through the rotunda entrance will receive a free hand-clapper. Fans can purchase playoff tickets at Reno1868FC.com/playofftickets.
USL Golden Boot Winners
2011: Jhonny Arteaga, 13 goals/24 games
2012: Dennis Chin, 11 goals/24 games
2013: Jose Angulo/Dom Dwyer, 15 goals, 26 games
2014: Kevin Molino, 20 goals/28 games
2015: Matt Fondy, 22 goals/28 games
2016: Sean Okoli, 16 goals, 30 games
2017: Dane Kelly, 18 goals/ 32 games
(Reno 1868 FC)