Luton Shelton, the late all-time leading goalscorer for Jamaica, has been posthumously granted the Keys to the Kingston.
The Kingston and St. Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSMC) passed a Resolution this week to posthumously honour the Shelton who died in January aged 35. The Keys, KSMC’s highest accolade, recognised his professional achievements as well as the positively impact to the island.
Kingston-born Shelton bagged 35 goals from 75 appearances and remains as the only player to notch four goals on their debut for Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz.The former hot-shot striker had been suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), which was only diagnosed in 2018, and passed away at his home from complications with the motor neuron disease.
He kicked off and ended his illustrious career with Harbour View after retiring from the game, representing seven other clubs between his 11-year hiatus from the Kingston-based Jamaica National Premier League outfit.
Shelton played a major role on the international scene with the Boyz, having made an immediate impact in November 2004 with his four-goal debut during the 12-0 demolition of St. Martin in the Caribbean Cup qualifier at Kingston’s National Stadium.
As a regular goal-scoring machine for the buoyant Boyz, he surpassed Paul Young’s record of 28 strikes by grabbing a brace against hosts Antigua & Barbuda in the 3-1 Caribbean Championship triumph to reach a milestone of 30 goals in November 2010.
As Jamaica’s all-time leader scorer, his final goal was the equaliser during their shock 2-1 reversal to hosts Guatemala in the World Cup qualifier in 2012.
After three seasons with Harbour View, Shelton joined Swedish side Helsingborgs IF for US$138,000 in August 2006, where he scored nine times in 19 Swedish Allsvenskan games as appearances were limited due to a spate of injuries.
Shelton finally made it to England, putting the disappointment of being denied a work permit to sign for the then Championship club Burnley in August 2005, by linking up with Premiership outfit Sheffield United in 2007. But he struggled for goals during his 25 matches with the side that got relegated from the top flight.
He was sold to Norwegian top tier team Vålerenga for US$1.38m in July 2008, where he spent three seasons competing in the Tippeligaen with 17 goals from 58 appearances.
Following a loan spell with Danish Supeliga side Aalborg BK, which saw him score just once in 10 games, Shelton moved to Turkey with Karabükspor in August 2011 where he bagged 10 goals in 47 appearances over two seasons.
FC Volga Nizhny Novgorod was his next port of call, but during his inaugural season (2013-14) the team were relegated from the Russian top flight. He spent a further season with them, grabbing only two goals from 23 matches, and left in 2015 just before the team went bankrupt.
Following an unsuccessful trial in the US with Major League Soccer outfit Colorado Rapids, Shelton spent two seasons on the sidelines because of a knee injury before returning to Harbour View in early 2017. He headed home on his debut, despite playing only the first 45 minutes due to lack of fitness, in their 2-1 Red Stripe Premier League success over Tivoli Gardens FC 2-1 at National Stadium.
Shelton is survived by his wife Bobbette, and three children.
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