|By Datti Jinkiri & Scott Taylor
When Brilla Coach Mark McKeever added a versatile midfield playmaker to his 2017 roster, he knew exactly what he was getting. Kelly played in 16 matches for for Mid-South Division rivals Midland/Odessa Sockers last summer. He logged over 1300 minutes for a team that made it all the way to the PDL semifinals. He was a key player down the stretch, making appearances in all 3 of his team’s playoff games. More relevant to Coach McKeever, Kelly played 326 minutes over four games against Mississippi Brilla. However, the Honduran-born Ottumwa, Iowa product has played a large role for, instead of against, Brilla so far this summer. He’s started six of the teams seven matches, seeing 558 minutes of action over those seven matches. Kelly doesn’t rack up a lot of the usual stats, because he is a player counted on winning the ball and keeping possession for his team.
When asked what his role is in the team, Kelly answers, “My role on the field is a combination of both aspects of the game. I am playing in a number 8 role, so I have to be a box-to-box midfielder. You have to attack and defend depending on the situation but usually I try to cover as much ground as possible as possible to block and intercept passes from the other team.
Angelo played his college soccer for William Penn University from 2012-2015. He finished his Statesmen career with 18 goals and 20 assists. Six of his goals were game winners. His best season was his sophomore where he tallied six goals and seven helpers.
Coach McKeever is high on Kelly, saying, “Angelo is another player with great experience, due to having played in the PDL Final Four last year,” McKeever said. “He is yet another player who can play several roles, and he brings a tremendous amount of creativity to the team. Angelo also has a winning mentality, which is a huge part of any team’s success.”
Kelly had a good impression of the organization, even when he was an opponent. “I had good thoughts before coming here because last year when I played in Midland/Odessa. We played Mississippi Brilla few times and I liked the foundation and playing style of Brilla. Since arriving here, my impressions of the team have not changed at all. In fact, I am more impressed because of the stability Brilla offers to players like myself. I’m definitely satisfied with the environment and people here. The staff and community here give us a good family environment.”
Kelly isn’t focused on his plans for after the season, “Before thinking about what’s at end of this season for me, I’ve got finish this season strong and make it as far as possible with the team. I would rather focus on what’s immediately in front of me and give it my full effort.
“As for my future, I am planning on pursuing soccer at the next either abroad or here in the U.S. But really, I’m just focusing on this season.”
Angelo and Brilla picked up an important three points at home Saturday night with a 5-0 win over FC Cleburne. The team now travels to undefeated Mid-South Division leaders OKC Energy U23 for two games this weekend.