Rumors floated around Twitter that the Rapids had their eye on Jeremy Kelly, a defender from the University of North Carolina. Kelly ended up going 9th overall to the Montreal Impact, and then the Rapids sent the $75K in GAM to Montreal for the rights to the 22-year-old.
Kelly, a native of the Czech Republic, is listed as a defender and midfielder, but Connor Cape confirmed that they see him as a rightback in Robin Fraser’s system, which would likely make him a back-up for Keegan Rosenberry. When I talked to Padraig Smith back in November, they were looking to bring in an MLS-experienced rightback, but that obviously hasn’t happened, so this move makes sense.
After the draft, Rapids Executive Vice President and General Manager Padraig Smith told the Denver Post, “Jeremy Kelly was a player that we followed for quite a period of time with our presence in North Carolina. He did incredibly well at the combine, which concerned me a bit because we felt that he was going to be moving up other teams’ draft board... he plays with a lot of urgency, a very good passer out of the box. I like the fact that he’s also played some midfield as well, shows his versatility and his ability to understand and read the game. Good mentality and a strong player from a character standpoint.”
I was told Kelly a US citizen, so he won’t require an international slot if he is added to the roster.