Charlie Kelman wasn’t able to help Southend United avoid relegation from the EFL League One, but is now preparing for a strong campaign in 2020-21′.
The Shrimpers finished 22nd in the 23-team English third division last season before the COVID-19 pandemic forced a halt to the season. With fears of the virus spreading, the season was ended with Southend United relegated alongside Bolton Wanderers and Tranmere Rovers.
Kelman scored in Southend’s final match before the abrupt end to the season back in March and is now focused on the start of preseason camp.
“It’s been the hardest period of my career so far and I can’t wait to get back to training,” Kelman said in an interview with the Southend Echo. “I’m doing everything I can to be ready when we do go back but it’s the longest I’ve ever gone without playing football and it’s tough because it’s all I’ve ever known really.”
“I’ve got a park near me so I’ve been going over there and working hard to keep fit. I’ve been listening to the programs but of course it’s been tough, especially as it’s been three or four months now.”
Coming through the ranks at Southend United, the 18-year-old Kelman has been given the early opportunity with the first team. After registering one league goal in 10 appearances in 2018-19′, Kelman finished this season tied for the team lead with five goals in 18 appearances.
Despite Kelman’s best efforts, the club struggled for majority of the season, losing a league-high 24 matches while earning the fewest wins of any League One side (4). A six-match losing streak before a March 7th win over Bristol Rovers ultimately condemned Southend into the bottom three and eventually relegation.
With three of last season’s playoff teams returning to League Two as favorites, Kelman knows it won’t be an easy season and is aiming to add to his numbers in Southend United’s attack.
“I wanted to try and help keep us in the division but we didn’t get that chance and we’ll be looking to bounce back next year now,” said Kelman. “I’ll be looking to score as many goals as I can next season to hopefully help us get back up.”
“We didn’t win as many games last season and I’m a winner so I love winning so I want more of it. If we can get 10 or more wins on the board then that would be great and then we will see where we are. But for me scoring goals doesn’t really mean anything unless you’re winning games.”
A U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team prospect, Kelman is waiting for preseason camp to begin with the managerless club who don’t know their official schedule yet either. With a strong season behind him, Kelman will hope to propel the club back into League One after not being able to help them down the stretch due to the pandemic.