MLS SOCCER: Weekend homecoming awaits Federal Way's Kelyn Rowe

New England Revolution
New England Revolution's Kelyn Rowe will have his jersey retired by Federal Way High School Friday night and play against the Sounders FC Saturday at 1 p.m.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

Kelyn Rowe is living his dream. The Federal Way High School graduate is in the midst of his second season with the New England Revolution of Major League Soccer (MLS).

“Every day is a great day,” Rowe said. “It’s a dream come true. It’s what I’ve wanted to do since I was 10 years old. I’m just happy to play the game that I love.”

Rowe will receive the biggest honor Federal Way High School can bestow on a former student-athlete Friday night when his No. 2 jersey is retired at halftime of a game between the current Eagles and Spanaway Lake at Federal Way Memorial Stadium.

“(Head coach) Jason (Baumgardt) really did it all,” Rowe said. “He talked to me about doing it and I was obviously honored. It’s kind of surreal right now. I never thought anything like this was going to happen.”

Despite playing just two seasons during his time at Federal Way, Rowe had a humongous impact on the Eagle program.

All you have to do is look at Rowe’s senior season. In 2010, Rowe scored 32 of the Eagles’ 49 goals and had an eye-popping 25 goals in Federal Way’s last 10 games. Rowe also scored nine of the Eagles’ 11 goals during their four-game postseason winning streak that ended in the state semifinals.

Rowe also led Federal Way into the state championship game as a freshman in 2007. It was the program’s first, and only, appearance in the title game. Rowe finished the season with 14 goals, including a pair in Federal Way’s loss to Pasco in the state championship, and 13 assists as a ninth-grader.

Rowe didn’t play for the Eagles during his sophomore and junior seasons because of his commitment to his club team, Crossfire Premier out of Redmond.

Rowe will be in the Pacific Northwest in preparation for the Revolution’s MLS game Saturday against the Seattle Sounders FC. The game is slated for 1 p.m. at CenturyLink Field.

“This is actually going to be my first time at CenturyLink,” Rowe said. “It’s going to be awesome playing in that atmosphere. Growing up in the area and being able to play in front of my family and friends for the first time is going to be a good homecoming.”

But Rowe, who trained with the Sounders (0-3-1) during his time in high school and college, isn’t going to let all the off-the-field distractions take away from his job with New England (1-2-1).

“This is definitely a business trip,” he said. “I will see my parents throughout the day and hope to make it to the game on Friday, but this is a business trip. I’m here to get three points.”

Rowe was selected third by the Revolution during the 2012 MLS SuperDraft after two seasons at UCLA.

During his sophomore season for the Bruins, Rowe became the fourth UCLA 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. He finished his college career with 13 goals, 20 assists and 46 points in 46 games played and was named the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year in 2010.

During his rookie season with New England, Rowe played in 30 games, starting 21. He tallied three goals, which was third on the team, and dished out a team-leading five assists. This season, Rowe has the only assist for the Revolution, who have scored just once in four games.

Rowe is also a veteran of the U.S. youth national team program, appearing with the under-18, under-20 and under-23 teams.

"It's going to be fun," Rowe said.

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