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Remembering Alan Kelly

Alan Kelly, an Irish goalkeeping legend who starred for English club Preston North End for 14 years and later became D.C. United's goalies coach, died this week. He was 72 and had been battling colon cancer.

Kelly, who was involved in Washington area youth soccer programs and helped operate the Corner Kick indoor facility in Montgomery County, oversaw United's keepers from 1996 through 2001.

He earned 47 caps for Ireland's national team and made more than 500 appearances for PNE, including the 1964 FA Cup final. Kelly served as Ireland's interim coach for a short period and later guided Preston. In 2001, a section of PNE's stadium was named for him and his image permanently displayed on the seats.

His son, Alan Jr., also served as goalkeeper for Ireland and PNE, and is now the national team's goalkeeping coach.

By Steve Goff  |  May 20, 2009; 12:13 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. United , England , Ireland  
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Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam

Posted by: joedoc1 | May 20, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Sad news for both sides of the Atlantic. Condolences to the Kelly family.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | May 20, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

I thought claudio suarez retired over salary issues?

Posted by: BolivianDCFan | May 20, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Wow, he did coaching clinics in Chantilly that my son took. Real charming guy, quite a character. Terrific at giving goalie clinics. He'll be missed.


Posted by: JkR- | May 20, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

I met him a few times at the old United Park. Nice guy (unless you were one of his trainees, he worked those guys hard - but honestly). Nice legacy.

Posted by: dcufan | May 20, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

I hope there is some recognition at the match tonight.

Posted by: granadoskerry | May 20, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

I only got to meet him a few times out at the Corner Kick, back when it was about the only place on MoCo to catch a game, have a pint, snarf some chips, and maybe even play a game on the ratty carpet in the unfinished metal barn. He was a giant for the game here in the DC area.

Rest well, Alan Kelly.

Posted by: StevanF | May 20, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

I used to go to his camps back in the 90s, nice fellow, remember those summer days fondly.

Posted by: douglasquaid | May 20, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Very sad news indeed. I will never forget him behind the bar at the corner kick. Newcastle beer on tap, soccer, foosball tables. He made that place feel like home. Last I saw him was about 2 years ago at the Rockville soccerplex. I didnt say hello. I just watched him do a goalies' clinic for little kids and he was 100% focused. He was in his zone. A memory I will cherish for ever.

Posted by: juanma_carr | May 20, 2009 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Kel, "correct."

Posted by: Leeguru | May 20, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Kel, "correct."

Posted by: Leeguru | May 20, 2009 4:07 PM |
Excellent. I also remember he used to set some huge guy loose running straight at the young keeps then roll the ball slowly in between them and yell 'Decision time!'for the keepers to either charge or hold their line.

Invariably, some young kid would get kicked clean out of the barn, and he'd walk over to the bleeder and say, 'Aye, brave lad...well done...'

Posted by: JkR- | May 20, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

I remember Alan in the flaming pit MD singing Mac the Knife and saying Corect and Right God bless Alan. Austin Waldron castlerea Ireland

Posted by: austinwal | May 20, 2009 7:22 PM | Report abuse

In the 80s he taught me at the Corner Kick to kick my own butt over and over again for not listening. It is actually a found memory. God Bless. Thanks for keeping the Corner Kick open after the owners bailed!

Posted by: Jeffreymsoltz | May 20, 2009 7:27 PM | Report abuse

Alan Kelly (Kel) was a friend, a mentor and my boss. He was always your friend first. I enjoyed working for him for many years. As a friend, we used to enjoy having a few drinks and laughs on Saturday nights after work at his favourite place Flaming Pitt. He was a good man, a good Irish man. I just want to say "Thanks Kel" for everything. He would reply "No bother". We'll miss you and will always be remembered. "Go east" as he would say when he gets lost on the road along with "correct and right". He's one of a kind and very modest as well. He was very kind to me and my wife and we are greatful for that. Once again, Thank You Kel from Tun and Kathleen

Posted by: tkhla | May 20, 2009 9:09 PM | Report abuse

Very sad to hear, condolences to the Kelly Family.


Posted by: RedDevil1 | May 20, 2009 11:32 PM | Report abuse

Kel got me my first job ever, coaching at his camp after I attended for a few years. Probably the reason why I'm into coaching now.

He was your boss, a tough one, "hey, get it done!" he'd yell at us. He loved the game and taught everyone that, and to work hard for the game.

Cheers Kel. Thanks for the start, the lessons, and the memories.

Posted by: ricardosilva | May 21, 2009 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Kel, you will be missed by many, loved by all.
Thank you all for your kind emails you have sent me.

The corner kick

Posted by: stevecarr1 | May 21, 2009 10:43 PM | Report abuse

Kel, you will be missed by many, loved by all.
Thank you all for your kind emails many of you have sent me.

The corner kick

Posted by: stevecarr1 | May 21, 2009 10:44 PM | Report abuse

Alan Kelly was a great man and a great footballer. Aside from his time at PNE (and DCU), his stewardship at the Corner Kick made it possible to play soccer and have a friendly beer thereafter. A game and a pint afterwards with friends. What more can one ask for?! Rest in Peace....

Posted by: lovinliberty | May 26, 2009 9:44 AM | Report abuse

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