RENO, Nev. — Three of Reno 1868 FC's most recognizable figures are up for the USL's top awards, the league announced on Thursday.
Forward and Golden Boot winner Dane Kelly is up for USL MVP after a season in which he played a part in 22 goals. Kelly led the league with 18 goals scored and also set up four goals to his teammates. The Jamaican international scored back-to-back hat tricks in May kicking off Reno's incredible run in the club's inaugural season.
Rookie standout Chris Wehan is also up for a major award as the assist champion is a finalist for Rookie of the Year. The former New Mexico Lobo was voted Midseason Rookie of the Year by fans earlier this season. Wehan led the USL with 12 assists, added eight goals and was one of the top chance creators averaging 2.3 chances created per match.
The man who helped bring these two players to Reno, head coach Ian Russell, is up for Coach of the Year. Russell helped build a team that led American pro soccer with 75 goals during the regular season, reach the playoffs and launch players to new heights in their respective careers.
Below are the finalists for all USL awards:
2017 USL Award Finalists
2017 Goalkeeper of the Year Finalists – Winner announced Monday, Nov. 20
Earl Edwards Jr., Orlando City B: Edwards’ save percentage of 75.2 was the highest of any goalkeeper in the USL with at least 75 saves in the regular season, and he saved two of five penalty kicks faced.
Mitch Hildebrandt, FC Cincinnati: Hildebrandt led the USL with 100 saves in the regular season to help Cincinnati earn a second consecutive trip to the USL Cup Playoffs.
Diego Restrepo, San Antonio FC: Restrepo led the league with 12 shutouts in the regular season and posted a 0.80 goals-against average and 76.4 save percentage on 69 saves.
2017 Coach of the Year Finalists – Winner announced Monday, Nov. 20
Mark Briggs, Real Monarchs SLC: Briggs led the Monarchs to the most successful season in the club’s history, which culminated in Real winning the 2017 USL Regular Season Championship.
James O’Connor, Louisville City FC: O’Connor led Louisville to a first-place finish in the Eastern Conference, while setting club records for wins (18), points (62) and goals (58) in the regular season.
Ian Russell, Reno 1868 FC: Russell marshalled one of the finest expansion seasons in the USL’s history, with 1868 FC setting a single-season record with 75 goals on its way to a third-place finish in the Western Conference.
2017 Defender of the Year Finalists – Winner announced Tuesday, Nov. 21
Paco Craig, Louisville City FC: Craig led Louisville’s sterling defense with 63 interceptions, 96 clearances and an 82.9 percent tackle success rate, while also notching two goals, two assists and a 78.9 passing accuracy rate.
Harrison Delbridge, FC Cincinnati: Delbridge led the USL with 120 interceptions in the regular season and led defenders with 208 duels won, while recording three goals and three assists offensively.
Sebastien Ibeagha, San Antonio FC: Ibeagha led the USL with 190 clearances in the regular season, notched 55 interceptions and won 61.4 percent of duels to lead SAFC’s league-best defense.
2017 Rookie of the Year Finalists – Winner announced Tuesday, Nov. 21
Richard Ballard, Louisville City FC: A local standout, Ballard was a strong weapon off the bench for Louisville, as he recorded three goals, five assists and 24 successful dribbles for the Eastern Conference champion.
Santi Moar, Bethlehem Steel FC: Moar played a major role in Steel FC’s first trip to the USL Cup Playoffs, as he finished with six goals, six assists and 36 key passes to help drive Bethlehem’s attack.
Chris Wehan, Reno 1868 FC: Wehan led the USL with 12 assists and notched eight goals as Reno set a USL single-season record with 75 goals, and he also recorded 25 interceptions defensively for the side.
2017 Most Valuable Player Finalists – Winner announced Wednesday, Nov. 22
Chandler Hoffman, Real Monarchs SLC: Hoffman recorded single-season highs with 16 goals and seven assists to play a crucial role in the best season in Monarchs’ history, which saw the club claim the USL Regular Season Championship.
Dane Kelly, Reno 1868 FC: Kelly claimed the USL Golden Boot for the first time in his career with 18 goals, scoring at a rate of 111.2 minutes per goal, and added four assists and 24 key passes on the regular season.
Enzo Martinez, Charlotte Independence: Martinez earned his second consecutive nomination for USL Most Valuable Player after a standout season that saw him score a career-high 16 goals and notch five assists.