Sports

MLS SOCCER: Federal Way's Kelyn Rowe selected third by the New England Revolution

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 will be traveling across the country to begin his professional soccer career.

The New England Revolution took the Federal Way High School graduate with the third overall pick in Thursday’s Major League Soccer SuperDraft at the Kansas City Convention Center.

Rowe recently completed his sophomore season at UCLA and became the fourth Bruin player to be named Pac-12 Player of the Year after leading the conference in assists with 10. Rowe also tallied six goals and led UCLA to the semifinals of the NCAA College Cup.

This offseason, Rowe made his camp debut with the United States under-23 National Team after earning six caps on the U-20 squad. He finishes his UCLA career with 13 goals, 20 assists and 46 points in 46 games played.

"I’m primarily an attacking player," Rowe said. "I love to get the ball and run at the back four. I have good vision, decent pace and my ability to play the dangerous ball is something I think coaches like about me and I bring to the field."

Rowe is one of five college underclassmen to join MLS through the Generation Adidas program this year. The players will receive unprecedented opportunities to develop their game with one of the MLS's 19 professional clubs. Players also receive educational grants to further the college education and don't count against an MLS team's salary budget.

New England manager Jay Heaps will have plenty of time to ease Rowe, a 5-foot-8 midfielder, into action. Rowe will compete for minutes as a rookie with Bennie Feilhaber, club legend Shalrie Joseph and veteran Clyde Simms, among others. New England finished tied with Vancouver for the fewest points in MLS last season with 28 and failed to make the postseason.

Rowe joins an impressive group of UCLA alums in MLS, including Feilhaber, Kevin Hartman, Amobi Okugo, Sal Zizzo, Marvell Wynne, Nick Rimando and Jordan Harvey. UCLA has produced the most MLS players of any college in the league’s history.

Rowe was not be the first Federal Way school district grad to use the Generation Adidas platform to enter the MLS. Decatur's Ciaran O'Brien was the fifth overall pick by the Colorado Rapids in the 2008 MLS SuperDraft after leaving the University of California Santa Barbara after his sophomore season.

O'Brien played in only one game for the Rapids' first squad in 2008 before being loaned out by Colorado to the lower-level Seattle Sounders, Austin Astex and Montreal Impact, along with the Ireland club, Sporting Fingal, from 2008-10.

After his contract ran out with Colorado, O'Brien singed with the North American Soccer League Atlanta Silverbacks in March. He won first-league honors with four goals and Atlanta announced in November that O'Brien would return for the 2012 season.

 

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