Alan Kelly was born into a strong refereeing family as his father Pat was a legendary official as was his grandfather Tim while his brother Graham also would take up the role.
He was a player initially though, representing both Avondale United, Ringmahon Rangers and Cork City’s reserves before he decided to switch and become the man in the middle in 1994 when he joined the Cork Branch of the Irish Soccer Referees Society.
From there he would officiate in the Munster Senior League before progressing to the League of Ireland, and Major League Soccer in America.
In 2003, Kelly became the youngest to referee an FAI Cup Final when he took charge of the Longford Town vs St. Patrick’s Athletic showdown aged 28.
He was appointed for a second time in 2009 is one of three refs to have taken charge of a FAI Cup, League Cup and Setanta Sports Cup final.
During his time in MLS, Kelly was voted the Referee of the Year in 2015, 2016, and 2018 - the award is voted for by Players, Coaches, and Media Personnel - and oversaw two MLS Cup finals.
He would also take charge of some significant games in the Champions League and World Cup qualifiers along the way before retiring in December 2021.
Now, he works with Howards Webb’s team as Manager of Senior Referees at Professional Referee Organization, the North American organization which provides professional referees to the region’s domestic leagues as well as international games worldwide.