Members of the Ridgewood High School Athletic Hall of Fame are those that have made a lasting impact on the school’s sports program as either student players, coaches, or supporters. Often the student players have continued to influence their chosen sports after high school by ongoing participation in athletics.
Kelly Conheeney 2020 Inductee
This statement was somewhat prophetic as Kelly went on to be the only girls soccer player in the history of Ridgewood High School to achieve the ultimate goal of playing professionally in what many consider to be the best women’s professional soccer league in the world, the NWSL (National Women’s Soccer League). It was a long road to the professional level for Kelly with many twists and turns.
A four year starter at RHS, Kelly Conheeney was a four time selection to 14 team All League, 3 time selection to the New Jersey Girls Soccer Coaches Association All State team, and was named as one of the New Jersey Soccer Coaches Association top 20 players in the state for 2008. Kelly was also named First Team All County and the Bergen Record Newspaper’s North Jersey Player Of The Year. She was also named to the Newark Star Ledger’s First Team All Groups, All State Team, and named to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America’s Regional All American Team. Kelly is the only player in RHS history to be voted twice to the leadership position of Co-captain of the varsity team. She is also only the fourth player in the history of girls soccer at RHS to eclipse the career 200 point mark with 208 total career points on 78 goals (4th on the all time goals scored list) and 52 assists (2nd on the all time assists list). The other three girls to achieve this offensive level are now members of the Hall of Fame.
Kelly helped the Montclair Aristocrats win three State Championships and was a member of the Regional National Championship ODP team in 2007 and National Finalist in 2008. She traveled with the region 1 ODP team in 2009 to Russia to play against the U19 national teams from Russia, the Ukraine, Estonia and Poland.
Kelly accepted a soccer scholarship to attend Virginia Tech University. Through all of her success on the field Kelly developed a false sense that injury wise nothing could go wrong, and nothing seemed to through her junior year at Virginia Tech. She’d been vital to the Hokies since stepping onto campus, starting all 68 matches in her 3 seasons, posting 26 goals and 21 assists. She already was the program’s career all-time leader in points and game-winning goals with 75 and 14 respectively. Her goals had beaten North Carolina and won the first two NCAA tournament games as the Hokies, in her third year, reached the Sweet 16 for the first time. She was the first female soccer player at Tech to record at least 20 goals and 20 assists in her career with 26 goals and 23 assists. Her freshman season she earned ACC All Freshman and All ACC Tournament Team honors, her sophomore year she also had call ups to both the U20 and U23 national team camps and in her junior year was named the teams Co-MVP for the year, and was selected to the NCAA All Southeast Team and the All ACC team.
Kelly suffered a series of concussions playing for the Ottawa Fury of the W league the summer before her senior season at Virginia Tech. A header in the second match of her senior year at Tech would put Kelly out of the game as a player for the next 3 and a half years, the cumulative effect of multiple concussions sustained over the course of her career. She graduated from Tech in 2012 with a degree in communications. She had a strong desire to be able to make a difference in the world and joined an organization with a global mission called “Coaches Across Continents” traveling to third world countries and using soccer as an instrument for change influencing young women’s lives.. Kelly spent a year and a half traveling and bringing programs that impacted individuals and communities in the arena of human rights and social justice. Cambodia, Indonesia, South Africa, the Congo, Tanzania, Columbia, Haiti and the Philippines are places she traveled to and became familiar with. She found it was, “the only thing that could have replaced soccer and made me as happy as I could have been during that time.”
Kelly returned home in 2015 with as strong desire to pursue her dream of playing professionally and was cleared to return to play through tests, evaluations and consultation through the concussion program at the University of Pittsburgh in February of 2016. Three weeks later Kelly went through open tryouts and was offered a contract to play professionally for Sky Blue of the NWSL. Her career also brought her professional stays with the Houston Dash of the NWSL and Hammarby IF of Sweden’s professional women’s league.
Today Kelly resides in Santa Monica California and is a coach with the Los Angeles Bulls Soccer Club. In 2016 she was the first player ever inducted into the NJ Girls Soccer Coaches Association Hall of Fame. Tonight she adds the RHS Athletic Hall Of Fame to those honors.
John Marshall, Jim Bruni, Mark Romeo, Jean Hughes, Chris Van Note, Nancy Hogan, RHS Football Team 1913, Don Taylor, Rachel Grygiel, John Cerf, Paul Tornatore, Michele Marangi, RHS Boys’ Lacrosse 1990-92
Craig Halyard, Tom Flatt, Tricia Pappalardo, Mike Henderson, Kandie Latham, Leigh Jester, Tom Dusel, Roger Sweeney, Linda Zabielski, Patty Capasso, Dennis Sullivan, Nick & Dottie Capasso, Track and Field (Bain-Daley-Oliver Era)
Kitty Batterson, Henry Blauvelt, Frank L. Bradley, Jr., Lucia Cancelmo, Chris DuFlocq, Renee DuFlon, RHS Girls’ Basketball 1922-1923, Harry Grundy, Jim Jones, Joe LeMay, Jen McDermott, Shannon McGarrigle, Tony Napier, Margaret Niemann, Vince Robertiello (Jamie Roberts), Damian Ross, Mike Springer
Paul Arrigoni, Pete Campbell, Doug Cook, Becky Deetz, Otis Grendler, Jodi Hartwig, Gene Links, Debbie O’Connell, Aimee McGuire, Walt Perdue, Tom Simos, Kazbek Tambi, Jack Van Yperen, Bob Whitaker, Margaret Scutro