- HometownRidgewood, New Jersey
Date of Birth: 1/24/1991
College: Virginia Tech
How Acquired: Open Tryouts (2016)
The road to the professional ranks was a long and arduous one for Sky Blue FC midfielder Kelly Conheeney. The New Jersey native starred at Ridgewood High School before continuing that same excellence to Virginia Tech, where started 68 matches while recording 26 goals and 21 assists in just her first three seasons in Blacksburg.
Prior to her senior year, Conheeney played in the now defunct USL W-League for the Ottawa Fury. In the league championship match, she scored the game-winning penalty kick in a shootout to defeat the perennial powerhouse Pali Blues.
However, Conheeney started to feel painful headaches on the ride back to Virginia before the start of her senior year. After assisting on a pair of goals in a win over Nebraska to start the season, the headaches became so excruciating that it appeared her soccer career could be over.
During three-plus years away from the field, Conheeney intensively studied concussions and was eventually cleared to return to soccer by concussion specialists at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, right before Sky Blue FC’s 2016 open tryouts. Conheeney showed enough to head coach Christy Holly at those trials to earn herself an invitation into preseason camp, and soon after a professional contract.
During her rookie NWSL campaign, Conheeney made six starts over 13 appearances. In storybook fashion, she scored the game-winning goal in her professional debut to defeat Seattle Reign FC at Memorial Stadium, a place where the team had never suffered a loss in its two previous seasons of playing there.