Former Championship MVP, Golden Boot winner to round out explosive attacking corps in Charlotte | Image Credit: Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
CHARLOTTE N.C. - The Charlotte Independence today announced the return of club veteran and the USL Championship's all-time leading scorer Dane Kelly, pending league and federation approval. Kelly made 41 appearances with the Jacks from 2020 to 2021. He scored a combined 22 goals with five assists.
In 2022, Kelly played with Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC in the USL Championship. He appeared in 23 matches and scored seven goals with two assists.
“We are delighted to welcome Dane back to the Independence for a third time; being able to add the USL Championship's leading scorer enhances our attack,” Charlotte Independence Head Coach Mike Jeffries said. “Dane provides mobility and pace up front, as well as a nose for goal and great box presence. Dane brings experience, savvy and composure to the role and I look forward to seeing him continue putting balls in the back of the net for the Independence.”
Last year, Kelly became the first player in USL Championship history to score 100 league goals. He helped lead Pittsburgh to a playoff berth before the Riverhounds fell in the Eastern Conference Semifinals on penalties.
Kelly played for Ihud Bnei Sakhnin FC of the Israeli Premier League in 2021 where he recorded 17 appearances. He scored once in the Israel State Cup.
The Jamaican forward’s first stint with Charlotte was in 2020. He played 16 games, scored 11 goals and added two assists.
“I’m very excited to be back with the Independence and can’t wait for the season to start,” Kelly said. “The Independence always feels like home to me and I’m definitely looking to help bring silverware to the Queen City this season.”
Before he came to Charlotte, Kelly played with Indy Eleven in the USL Championship and recorded 10 goals with five assists across 37 appearances in 2019. He joined Major League Soccer side D.C. United in 2018 and made two appearances.
In 2017, Kelly won both the league USL Championship Most Valuable Player award and the Golden Boot with 18 goals for Reno 1868 FC. He received his first call-up to the Jamaican National team in 2017. Since then, Kelly has scored twice in four appearances for the Reggae Boyz.
Kelly made 24 appearances for Swope Park Rangers and tallied eight goals and two assists in 2016. He played with the Charleston Battery from 2011 to 2015 and scored 48 goals with nine assists across 119 appearances.