KENYA BROWN - Tuesday, January 15, 2019
US youth international Charlie Kelman is now a professional player as it was announced on Tuesday that he signed a contract with English League One team Southend United.
The news comes after the 17-year-old made headlines when he scored his first professional goal for the Shrimpers over the past weekend, coming off the bench in the team's 3-2 loss to Plymouth Argyle.
Kelman has made a huge impression at Southend since joining them as a youth player. This season with the Under-18 team he has scored 18 goals in 21 appearances. This has led to him earning the opportunity to move up to the senior team.
Southend has high hopes for the youngster as they have rewarded him with a two-and-a-half-year contract, and Kelman could not hide his excitement at finally becoming a professional player.
"It's a dream. I used to be a season ticket holder at Southend and I used to sit there with my friends and think ‘I want to get out there'," said Kelman in a statement on Southend United's website. "I've been working hard and it's good when it pays off. When you're four years old and kicking a ball around, you never think it will come this quick."
While excited with the contract and scoring his first goal, he has tried to remain grounded as he knows that he has a long way to go.
"The hard work starts now, more so than before I got my contract. Now it's time to kick on and show that I'm not just about the goal [against Plymouth], but I can be consistently scoring goals and hopefully have a good career," he said.
Although eligible to play for England, Kelman has so far decided to play internationally for the United States, with his first call up coming in June 2018 for the U-18 national team.
Kelman will try to earn more playing time in the coming weekend when Southend face Bradford City.