United States U-20 forward Charlie Kelman is making a move to the English Championship, signing a three-year deal with Queens Park Rangers, the club announced in a Wednesday release.
Kelman, 18, joins QPR from Southend United, where he'd been since 2018. Southend found themselves relegated to League Two after last season, but Kelman showed well, leading the team with seven goals in 19 appearances across all competitions. That's the same goal total he's managed in his 19 career appearances for the US U-20s.
It was enough to catch the eye of QPR director of football Les Ferdinand, who said Kelman will start with the club's U-23s with the hope that he'll add competition that will push the first-team strikers. QPR recently signed two more established players at the position in Lyndon Dykes and Macauley Bonne.
“He is a goalscorer and, at just 18, has scored goals in league football already, which alerted us," Ferdinand said in Wednesday's release. "He’s tasted a lot of men’s football already, so he understands the game — we just need to polish him up. Hopefully he can make the grade sooner rather than later."
Kelman was born in England, but grew up in Texas and started his youth career at FC Dallas before eventually ending up in the Southend academy, where he put up gaudy numbers.
He gained notoriety in 2019 for scoring a ridiculous long-distance goal from his own half in his League One debut.