As an elementary school student, Adam Kelley regularly retrieved balls along the sidelines while watching his older brother, Brandon, become the all-time leading scorer in the history of Lisbons boys soccer varsity program.
Adam Kelley aspired to pattern himself after his brother, 10 years his senior, and he knew it would be a tough act to follow. Brandon Kelley enjoyed a 38 goal season and finished with 92 career goals while playing on championship teams.
Brandon was definitely my role model and he has been a great help to me, said Adam Kelley, who also plays basketball and baseball at Lisbon.
He comes to all my games, and (afterward) he asks me what I think I could have done better, Adam Kelley said. And we talk it over.
Adam Kelley has dedicated himself to getting better, becoming a premier offensive player and a Golden Knight team leader.
Lisbon coach Bill Reed brought Kelley to the varsity level as an eighth-grader, mentored him to a First Team All-Northern Athletic Conference West selection as a freshman and as a sophomore, and saw him develop into the Offensive MVP of the NAC West and NAC scoring leader with 21 goals and 10 assists. Kelley was also named to the First Team of the All-New York State Team compiled by the National Soccer Coaches of America Assocition.
Lisbons senior goaltender Jimmy Robinson was selected to the fourth team of the all-state selections.
Today, Kelley receives another esteemed honor of being named as the NAC MVP on the Times All-North Team.
Kelley was also honored before the season being named a Lisbon co-captain with Robinson, Jake Putney, Cody James and Ryan Buckley.
We had 14 underclassmen on this years team, and I wanted Adam to be a captain as a sophomore because he could relate to the younger players, Reed said of Kelley, who figured in 31 of the Knights 48 goals on the season.
He just understands the game so well, he strikes the ball very hard and he shoots it very well, Reed added. He has great vision and he was able to play striker, in the midfield or on defense whenever we needed him to. And playing against quality players in the offseason has been a key.
The three senior captains and Kelley led the Golden Knights to an 11-1-2 NAC record with two ties against division champion Harrisville, which went on to win the Section 10 Class D title.
Kelley, who scored both goals against Harrisville, said the offseason play and attending camps have definitely helped him reach personal goals as an underclassman.
Since his youth soccer days, he has played in the FC Freeze program directed by St. Lawrence University coach Bob Durocher. This summer he played for FC Freeze and for the Northern New York Youth Soccer Academy directed by Jefferson Community College coach Chris Pacillo. He also plays in the academys indoor program.
Playing for coach Reed, coach Durocher and Ccach Pacillo has really helped me. They all do things differently so I learned a lot, Kelley said. Coming into the season, I was looking to be stronger and not get forced off the ball.
His goal for next year is to help lead Lisbon to a championship.
We should have a good team next year, Kelley said. Tristan Vine and Riley Alberto should have big years and some our other guys are also playing in the summer and should be a lot stronger. But we have to replace some very good players and Robinson will really be missed in goal. But I think Nick Spooner will come up to do a good job.
Despite returning the bulk of this years team, Reed said that the Golden Knights will still be a young team, with only two returning seniors. Reeds main advice to Kelley and the returning players is to involve weight training to get stronger, quicker and faster.
The Knights will certainly have a role model to follow in Kelley, who showed that young players can become outstanding leaders.