FC Cincinnati acquire Kevin Kelsy on loan from Shakhtar Donetsk


FC Cincinnati have acquired Venezuelan forward Kevin Kelsy [KELL-see] on loan from Ukrainian Premier League power Shakhtar Donetsk, the club announced today. He will join FC Cincinnati for the duration of the 2024 Major League Soccer season, with an option to buy. Kelsy was added as a U22 initiative player to the club’s 2024 roster prior to the close of the MLS Primary Transfer Window and is now fully eligible to join the squad.

Kelsy, 19, brings 68 professional appearances to Cincinnati across Europe and South America, including five in UEFA Champions League competition. 

“We’re thrilled to have Kevin join the group,” said Chris Albright, FC Cincinnati General Manager. “He’s a talented young player with incredible potential and we look forward to working with him. He’s a physically gifted forward with a strong mentality who will fit in well with our team, and we’d like to welcome him to FC Cincinnati.”

The 6-foot-3 striker made his professional debut at 16 with Mineros de Guayana of the Venezuelan Primera División on May 7, 2021 against Caracas FC. He made eight appearances in his first season before establishing himself in the 2022 season, scoring five goals in 23 appearances for Mineros.

The Valencia, Venezuela native was acquired by Shakhtar Donetsk on January 31, 2023 on a five-year contract. At 18, Kelsy made his debut for the dominant Ukrainian club in the 2022/23 UEFA Europa League on February 23 at French club Stade Rennais FC. 

“I’m happy to join FC Cincinnati,” said Kelsy. “It's an exciting project at the club and I look forward to my first game. I can’t wait to meet the fans and play my first game at TQL Stadium.”

Kelsy made his league debut on February 28 at FK Minaj and netted his first goal on March 12 at Kryvbas. He would go on to score six goals in 17 appearances across all competitions after joining Shakhtar midway through the 2022/23 season as the club won the Ukrainian Premier League title, Shakhtar’s 14th league title all-time.

In 2023/24, Kelsy scored in his UEFA Champions League debut on September 19, 2023 against FC Porto. Kelsy featured in five of the six group stage matches, including their 1-0 win over Barcelona in November. He made 18 total appearances in 2023/24 for the club, scoring three goals.

Internationally, Kelsy has made 16 appearances for the Venezuelan Youth National Team system, scoring two goals each for both the U-20 and U-23 teams. Most recently in January and February, Kelsy made six appearances – scoring two goals – in the CONMEBOL Pre-Olympic Tournament.

TRANSACTION: On April 30, 2024, FC Cincinnati acquire forward Kevin Kelsy on loan through the end of the 2024 MLS season as a U22 initiative player, with an option to buy, from Shakhtar Donetsk of the Ukrainian Premier League.

Position: Forward
Height: 6’ 3’’
Birthdate: July 27, 2004 (19)
Birthplace: Valencia, Venezuela
Nationality: Venezuelan
How Acquired: Acquired via loan through the end of the 2024 MLS season, with an option to buy, from Shakhtar Donetsk of the Ukrainian Premier League.

Kelsy and FC Cincinnati head on the road for two-straight road matches beginning Saturday, May 4 at Orlando City SC. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. ET and the match will air, for free with no subscription required, on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV. Fans can also listen to the match on ESPN 1530 in Cincinnati and iHeart and are encouraged to head to the Official Watch Party presented by Fretboard at Gatherall at Factory 52 in Norwood.