MLS SOCCER: Federal Way's Kelyn Rowe off to a fast start with Revolution

Federal Way High School graduate Kelyn Rowe was drafted third by the New England Revolution in the MLS SuperDraft. He has four goals in five preseason games. - Courtesy of UCLA
Federal Way High School graduate Kelyn Rowe was drafted third by the New England Revolution in the MLS SuperDraft. He has four goals in five preseason games.
— image credit: Courtesy of UCLA

By Jeff Lemieux,

Kelyn Rowe revealed the secret behind his torrid start after the Federal Way High School grad scored two more goals in a 2-0 win over the New York Red Bulls on last weekend — breakfast cereal.

“The Wheaties for breakfast are doing great,” the New England Revolution rookie midfielder said with a grin from ear-to-ear.

Joking aside, opposing defenses have found nothing funny about Rowe’s remarkable output in his first professional preseason in Major League Soccer (MLS). With his double against the Red Bulls, Rowe upped his tally to four goals and four assists in five preseason matches. The U.S. Under-23 National Team playmaker – drafted third overall by the Revs in this year’s SuperDraft – has recorded at least one goal or one assist in each game.

For Revolution head coach Jay Heaps, Rowe’s early success is simply confirmation of what he saw from the former UCLA standout at the MLS Combine in early January.

“Kelyn is a gamer,” said Heaps. “He loves to play and I absolutely love that about him. It doesn’t matter if it’s a Monday morning, a Friday night or a Saturday night in front of 10,000 people, he’s on. That’s one of the things that we saw when he was at the Combine, that he just loved to play and he sorts out problems on the field. And when he gets near the goal, he’s special.”

That specialness was evident on Saturday night at Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium, where Rowe scored a pair of very different goals, both of which highlighted strengths of his game. The first was an opportunistic, close-range finish after pouncing on a loose ball inside the box, while the second was a stunning left-footed strike from distance.

In both instances, Rowe showed the poise of a veteran by deflecting credit to his teammates.

“The team did really well today,” he said. “The first one, the guys got in the box and they really scrambled it up for me and it just popped out. It was an easy goal to finish. The second one I had some great [help]. I had (Saer) Sène with the great little flick with the outside of the left from a ball I think from Benny (Feilhaber). We’re getting forward and attacking and when the team does that it opens up everyone else. Luckily, I got that one.”

Of course, Rowe couldn’t help but accept some of the recognition for the spectacular finish on his second goal, which he struck sweetly with his left foot after cutting inside from the right wing.

“Definitely – with my off foot, as well,” Rowe said when asked if he connected as perfectly as he could’ve hoped. “My left is not something I’m the greatest at but it’s getting better and you could see that today with the great upper ‘V’ goal. It was pretty cool.”

Rowe, a 2010 Federal Way grad, played only two seasons at UCLA and was 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 in the fall.

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.


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