In a move that has been rumored for days, D.C. United has signed Jamaican international forward Dane Kelly from Indian club Pune FC. Kelly, who recently scored for the Reggae Boyz, joins United via a free transfer. Kristian Dyer first broke the news of United’s move to sign the 27-year-old 2017 USL MVP and Golden Boot winner. As a green card holder, Kelly will count as a domestic player on United’s roster.
Kelly has been one of the best strikers in the USL for years, and is coming off of his best season yet. Playing for expansion club Reno 1868 FC, Kelly scored 18 goals in 27 appearances, making him a key part of an attack that scored a USL record 75 regular season goals. To go with his MVP and Golden Boot trophies, Kelly was named to the USL’s All-League team for the third time in his seven seasons. Before joining Reno, Kelly spent five seasons with the Charleston Battery, scoring 41 goals in 93 appearances there before spending one injury-blighted season with the Swope Park Rangers in 2016.
Kelly’s prolonged good form was recently noticed by Jamaica head coach Theodore Whitmore, who handed the 5’11” forward his first-ever cap at any level last August. In January, Kelly scored a 4th minute goal as the Reggae Boyz held South Korea to a 2-2 friendly draw.
For United, the signing is likely the end of their additions during the current transfer window, though they still have nearly two months to make moves if something tantalizing pops up between now and the May 1st deadline. Kelly will likely be the third striker on Ben Olsen’s depth chart, especially with young attacker Bruno Miranda appearing likely to spend at least the early part of this season on loan with the Richmond Kickers.