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Jamaican ballers make USL All-League first team

Published:Thursday | September 25, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Leighton Levy, Gleaner Writer

Former Wolmer's Boys' School player Ashani Fairclough and Old Harbour alumnus Dane Kelly were on Tuesday named to the United Soccer League (USL) post-season All-League first team for 2014.

The 22-year-old Fairclough is a defender for the Wilmington Hammerheads, while Kelly is a striker for Charleston Battery. Both teams play in the United Soccer League's Professional Division. The USL is the organiser of several football leagues, with teams in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean.

Fairclough, who was once on the roster of the Seattle Sounders, but never played for them, helped the Hammerheads keep three clean-sheet streaks of three throughout the season. He is described as being a smart defender who is rarely out of position and, as such, was honoured by the league in his first season with the Hammerheads.

Finish third

The former Jamaica Under-20 player missed the final three games of the season because of a knee injury, but scored a goal and produced an assist for his team during the regular season and still managed to finish third, in terms of minutes played behind teammates Paul Nicholson and Christian Davidson.

Kelly was one of three strikers named to the USL first team, but the player who first represented Tivoli Gardens in the Red Stripe Premier League, said he was not expecting the selection.

"I was thinking I might get in the second team, but not the first team," said the striker, who scored 13 goals in all competitions during the season.

The early part of Kelly's season was interrupted by injury and suspensions, but he finished strong, scoring seven goals in his final eight matches.

He has, so far, scored 25 goals for the Charleston Battery, whose president is well pleased.

"It's well-deserved," said Charleston Battery president, Andrew Bell, to The Post and Courier. "He's worked hard here for four years and he's gotten better every year. We're very excited for him."