Soccer: Kelyn Rowe looking toward 2012 Olympic Team

Federal Way High School graduate Kelyn Rowe led UCLA into the semifinals of the NCAA Men’s Soccer Championships and was the Pac-12 Player of the Year. - Courtesy of UCLA
Federal Way High School graduate Kelyn Rowe led UCLA into the semifinals of the NCAA Men’s Soccer Championships and was the Pac-12 Player of the Year.
— image credit: Courtesy of UCLA

Kelyn Rowe has experienced plenty on the soccer field. The Federal Way High School graduate has travelled all over the world playing the sport that is paying for his education at UCLA.

But the current college sophomore has a chance to add playing for the United States at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London to his ever-growing soccer resume.

Rowe took the first step on Thursday when he started training with the United States Under-23 Men’s National Team in Lakewood Ranch, Fla. Rowe is one of 30 invited to the training camp through Dec. 23 in preparation for qualifying for the 2012 Olympic Games.

Soccer at the London Olympics is scheduled to be held in London and several other cities in the United Kingdom, from July 25 to August 11. The finals will be played at Wembley Stadium. Men’s Olympic soccer generally is limited to players under 23.

Rowe is making his camp debut in the U-23 age group after earning six caps on the U.S. U-20 National Team last year. The sophomore midfielder scored six goals and tallied 10 assists during the Bruins’ recent run to the semifinals of the NCAA College Cup. Rowe was also named Pac-12 Player of the Year for 2011 and earned second-team All-America honors from College Soccer News.

The call to the U-23 U.S. Men’s National Team comes a week after Rowe and his UCLA teammates lost in the semifinals of the NCAA Tournament in a shootout to North Carolina.

Rowe put the Bruins ahead 2-1 when he executed a great give-and-go and chipped the ball over the North Carolina goalkeeper for his sixth goal of the season. But the Tar Heels came back and tied the game at 2-2, which is how it stayed until North Carolina won the penalty-kick shootout, 3-1.

Despite the loss, Rowe received the extreme honor of being named the 2011 Pac-12 Player of the Year after leading the league with 10 assists on the season. His assist total also put him in a tie for eighth nationally.

Rowe became the fourth UCLA player to earn Conference Player of the Year honors. Rowe joins Matt Taylor (2003), current Seattle Sounders FC midfielder Patrick Ianni (2004) and Michael Stephens (2008) as the other Bruins to win the award.

After being named an All-American after his freshman season at UCLA in the fall, Rowe was selected to the United States U-20 World Cup qualifying roster and played in the CONCACAF Cup in Guatemala. During the tournament, Rowe led the Americans with three goals.

The impressive performance in Central America has opened plenty of doors for the 19-year-old, including a pair of trials this spring with elite professional clubs in France and Germany.

Rowe, who took the spring semester off from UCLA, paid his own way to Europe and practiced with the French club Stade Rennes and the German Bundesliga side FC Cologne.


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