New England Revolution rookie Kelyn Rowe has had a whirlwind start to his 2012 MLS season.
The 20 year-old has started all six of New England’s games this season and has proven he is a focal part of one of the strongest midfield formations in the league.
The former UCLA Bruin has performed well in his role as an attacking midfieldeer, leading the team in shots on goal and has been noted for his smooth ability to move the ball.
“Kelyn has been very good. We have asked a lot of him and he has asserted himself well,” Revolution coach Jay Heaps said. “He is very dynamic going with the ball and you can see he is trying to make the team go forward. That is what we want from him.”
Rowe scored his first career goal in a win against the LA Galaxy and has put his name on the list of early-season Rookie of the Year candidates.
"Scoring the first goal was going to be a great feeling no matter what," Rowe said. "Luckily for me it was in LA and a bunch of my buddies were there. It was a good feeling to score against a team as good as the Galaxy and to beat them 3-1.
“Starting as a rookie is always a hard thing to do. Jay put a lot of faith in me and so did the team, so to go out there and perform was exciting.” Rowe said.
After his second year of college, Rowe made the decision to enter the MLS SuperDraft. The midfielder felt he was ready for his next challenge.
“I knew it was time to go. When I did well in college, people told me I could go out and get a chance.” Rowe said. “My parents and I sat down and had a conversation about it; we decided it would be a good decision for me.”
Rowe was drafted third overall by New England is this year's MLS SuperDraft. The pick was surprising to some because the Revolution were projected to pick a forward, but the attacking ability of the midfielder was enough for Heaps to select him early.
Heaps has made an effort to have Rowe learn from example by pairing him with talented veteran midfielders like Shalrie Joesph and Benny Feilhaber.
“There are some things about Jay that I respect so much. He hasn’t treated me like a rookie; he has treated me like a player," Rowe said. "He always tells me to learn everyday whether it be from Shalrie Joesph or the other older guys on the team.”
“Shalrie and Benny have really taken me under their wing. Benny plays so similar; he talks to me every game and every practice, he is very vocal guy.”
Rowe has been in the U.S. youth national team system for a good deal of time, and hopes his experience in MLS this season leads to more chances to feature for his country.
“I have been lucky enough to get a chance with the U18s, the U20s, and a little with the U23s. It has been a great experience and you learn every time.” said Rowe. “Unfortunately we didn’t make the final cut to the Olympics, but those guys helped me out so much because they had all been in the league before.”
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