The goalie position in the PLL is undoubtedly one of the most competitive positions and the hardest position on the field. Even more so, it is rare to see a switch in personnel during the season after a starting goaltender is named. However, this season Jack Kelly has been the man to step up to the plate for the Redwoods.
Following a rough start to the season, the Redwoods were looking for a spark and they did just that, making a goaltender switch from Tim Troutner to Jack Kelly. Jack Kelly is a highly awarded and extremely talented goaltender, at one point he was regarded as the best in the country. However, he found himself in the second string role for the Redwoods for the majority of his time there despite being an MLL All-Star and collegiate stud.
In order to understand the depth of his return between the pipes, who is Jack Kelly?
In college, Jack Kelly was a four year starter at Brown University. During his time at Brown, he was nothing short of outstanding between the pipes. Kelly consistently led the Ivy League in saves and was a force between the pipes for his team. He was a two-time captain, and earned all USILA All-American honors along with First Team All-Ivy League honors in 2015. Following his unbelievable Final Four performance against the University of Maryland in 2016, it was clear that Jack Kelly was a top tier talent as a goaltender.
When asked by Brown staff to describe Kelly, they had nothing but high praise, saying “The man is a rarity in college athletics as a two-time captain. The honor of leading our team is certainly appreciated and embraced by Jack. But in reality, the rest of us are the ones who truly feel honored and fortunate to have Jack’s guidance and words.”
When Kelly entered the MLL in 2016, he picked up where he left off and took the professional league by storm. Kelly was drafted by the Denver Outlaws where he would win Rookie of the Year and his first MLL Championship in 2016. In his 2017 campaign he captured the Goalie of the Year award and in 2018 he would win another championship and would be named to the 2018 Team USA Men’s Team. Everything was going perfect for Jack Kelly heading through 2018.
However, while playing with Team USA in Israel, Kelly suffered a torn ACL while making a leaping outlet pass in one of the pool games. This injury would ultimately end up sidelining Kelly for three years due to repeated complications and having to undergo multiple surgeries to address the complications. It took 1,085 days for Kelly to suit up and take the field for the first time as a PLL Redwood.
What should the Redwoods expect from Jack Kelly?
The Redwoods should expect what every team has gotten out of Jack Kelly, great goaltending and great leadership. Jack Kelly has been getting more comfortable each week and it has shown and with the Redwoods finding their rhythm at the X, it looks like they could make a strong push at the end of this season and in the postseason. Kelly brings an athletic, unorthodox style to the Redwoods that should lead to big stops and even bigger defensive stands.
Regardless, Jack Kelly is an outstanding goaltender and to see him back in the lineup is nothing short of a success story for himself personally. But, if the Redwoods make a strong run, Jack Kelly getting back in the lineup will likely be a part of Redwoods’ success story as well.