McDonogh soccer standout Keegan Kelly has accepted an invitation to the upcoming fall semester of the U.S. Under-17 Residency Program in Bradenton, Fla.
Kelly, who will turn 16 in December, earned All-Metro first-team honors last season as a sophomore midfielder, finishing with five goals and 16 assists to help lead the No. 1 Eagles (21-0-1) to the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference championship.
With the semester in the national program set to start Aug. 30 and run through December, he'll bypass his junior high school season at McDonogh.
In July, he participated in a training camp with the U-17 national team in Carson, Calif., and also made a positive impression competing in the Open Nordic Cup in Denmark in late July.
"It's just an unbelievable opportunity and shows what hard work can bring," Kelly said. "It's going to be tough leaving the guys at McDonogh, but it was something I've got to do."
Kelly received the invitation last Friday, leaving him with a difficult decision with the high school season at McDonogh set to start in the coming weeks. The chance to further escalate his aspirations to play at the professional level and for his country was too good to pass up.
"I'm happy and proud for him -- it's an opportunity he fully deserves. He weighed the pros and cons and, in the end, it was a great opportunity to further escalate his soccer career and reach his aspirations of playing pro soccer and representing his country," McDonogh coach Brandon Quaranta said.