From left, Patrick, Frankie, Stephen, David and Johnny Kelly… (Matt Roth / Photo for The…)
As youngsters following their uncle's 2003 Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference championship team, Frankie, David Jr., Patrick, Johnny and Stephen Kelly dreamed of the day when they, too, would play for Calvert Hall.
"We did the math," said Frankie, the school's student body president, who's headed to North Carolina, where his uncles, Bryan and David, won national championships with the Tar Heels. "We figured out that there was only one year when all of us could be on the same team."
After some calculations, 2010 was the year the youngsters decided the Cardinals would become decidedly Kelly-centric.
"We always dreamed what it would be like to get all five of us on the same team," said Frankie's brother, Stephen.
Of course, everything had to fall into place.
Although senior midfielders Frankie and David would be virtual locks to earn roster spots, Stephen and Johnny had to play their way onto the team as freshman middies. David's brother, Patrick, filled a need on an attack unit that lost Patrick Fanshaw (Loyola) and Jason McFadden (Georgetown) to graduation.
"I recused myself from [making decisions on] cuts," said Calvert Hall coach Bryan Kelly, who coaches the sons of his siblings Frank III, David and John. The four Kelly brothers are all Calvert Hall alums.
Besides, it's not that unusual for freshmen to contribute to the current Cardinals, considering three other rookies — midfielders Tom Hollenback and John Betz and longstick Garrett Epple — are on this year's squad.
The coach has made good use of his nephews' talents for a team that has had an up-and-down ride in 2010, posting a 4-5 conference mark after beating St. Paul's, 9-8, on April 23 and losing to Gilman, 14-6, on Wednesday. Patrick had a goal and three assists — including the game-winning feed to sophomore Carter Brown with nine seconds remaining — while Frankie gobbled up 14 of 17 faceoffs in the victory over St. Paul's.
Still, there's more to the experience than statistics for the Kelly crew, who are never on the field at the same time, because Frankie and Stephen share faceoff chores.
"Wins and losses won't determine how much fun we've had this season," said David, who will attend Rutgers in the fall.
"And the season's not over yet," added Patrick, who leads the Kellys in goals this spring.
Nor is the influx of future Kelly stars likely to end anytime soon. Bryan's sons Jacob, David, Joshua and Caleb will join cousins Timmy, J.K., Micaiah and Boaz to give the Kellys a potential presence at Calvert Hall through 2028.
Uncle Bryan, however, tries to keep family ties out of all important team business.
At practice and school, he insists on being "Coach," not "Uncle Bryan."
"I don't know of many guys who have the opportunity to coach [so many of] their nephews," the coach said. "It's been a great experience. They are very respectful of the boundaries I set here as their coach and outside of school as their uncle."
Moreover, he's more interested in treating them as Cardinals — not Kellys.
"I think sometimes I can be harder on them" than on other players, he said. "I was really on Patrick's case [last week]. And they know that no Kelly is bigger than the team. They're no more important than anyone else on the team, that's for sure. But I'm also very glad they're on our team."