Friday, October 5, 2018
Douglas Kelly, 2008, of Guam’s ZES Football Club, has gotten to know the Spokane Sounders and the Spokane Shadow programs pretty well these past four months. Kelly’s steady development on the island of Guam led his club coaches, Jonahan Romero and Jason Cunliffe, who are also members of Guam’s national team, to pursue some additional opportunities for the player on the west coast.
Cunliffe, a former teammate of Spokane Shadow Director of Coaching Mike Pellicio, asked what could be done for the youngster. After a few messages back and forth, Kelly arrived in Spokane on July 8th eager to experience the club’s unique and well-known developmental philosophy. After training for two weeks with Spokane Sounders teams, Dougie, as he’s referred to warmly by his new teammates, was able to compete with the Boys 2007 South Valley Rave team at the Crossfire Challenge. It was at this event where Kelly was identified by Seattle Sounders Head of Recruitment Henry Brauner, who was asked to scout the player by Shadow coaches, as a player to bring into the Sounders Discovery Program for an observation.
“Hosting Dougie this summer for his two week visit was exciting for the player himself and for our own players,” explains Pellicio. “We want our own players to have diverse experiences but that also applies to others who may consider our training environment to be diverse. I spent a lot of time with the kid, on and off the field. He has the mentality to succeed in whatever challenges he faces and, ask any of the boys he’s played with, he’s definitely a part of our club at this point."
The ZES Football Club player arrived in Washington again on the 27th of September for his Sounders Discovery Program visit in Seattle, bookending his week with weekend games with the 2006 Rave team in Yakima and Silverdale before traveling over to Spokane to enjoy some games on the smaller field with the 2007 and 2008 boys teams.
Kelly’s father, Douglas Kelly Sr., has no regrets over planning the trip to Spokane.
"Douglas has made lasting connections and gained invaluable experience that I am certain will propel him forward as he looks to achieve his goals,” Kelly noted. "We are truly grateful to all of the coaches and players that have made this possible. Thank you to Mike and Mr. Brauner for the opportunity to experience the Shadow Way and Sounders methodology and I know this experience will be something that Douglas will always remember.”
Enjoying the Spokane Shadow's development model, which is put together by the club’s directors with a coaching education influence from the Seattle Sounders, is part of a larger effort by the 2016 MLS Cup Champions to identify and evaluate the best talent in the region through their affiliate clubs. In February, Spokane Shadow product Ray Serrano became the youngest signing in Sounders club history at only 15 years of age. Serrano is currently with the U.S. U17 National Team in Mexico City, having played against Argentina on Thursday, October 4th.
“The developmental pathway for our club’s players is clear, in that you will receive upward challenges when you need them. For some players, it’s working in with an older group. For our special players, there’s the Sounders Discovery Program invitation, which Dougie has received. I’m really happy to see the kid come into our community, forge relationships with the players, earn their respect and confidence, and then receive an opportunity with the Seattle Sounders while wearing our club’s colors.”
Kelly will compete this weekend with the Boys 2007 South Valley Rave, again, and then also with the Boys 2007 North Rave and the Boys 2008 South Rave teams, before returning home to Guam’s ZES Football Club.