Sporting Kansas City announced Tuesday that the club has acquired midfielder Kelyn Rowe, $100,000 in Targeted Allocation Money and $200,000 in General Allocation Money from the Colorado Rapids in exchange for forward Diego Rubio.
“Kelyn is a player who we watched in college and we have continued to pay close attention to him over the years in Major League Soccer,” Sporting KC Manager Peter Vermes said. “He’s a guy that we have always admired from afar and someone we think that can play multiple positions as a midfielder or as a winger. We are very excited to add him to our roster. We also want to thank Diego for his contributions to our team over the last three seasons, and we wish him the best in the future.”
Rowe has started 167 of 214 appearances in MLS action (including postseason) since being selected as the third overall pick in the 2012 MLS SuperDraft by the Revolution, recording 30 goals and 42 assists over the past seven seasons.
“I am excited for the opportunity to be involved in an organization that has proven time and time again to be at the top of this league in terms of style of play, facilities and the culture in Kansas City,” Rowe said.
Following a productive rookie year in which Rowe bagged three goals and five assists in 30 appearances, Rowe broke out in 2013 as the Revs reached the MLS Cup Playoffs for the first time in four attempts. Rowe notched eight goals and nine assists on the season – including a goal and an assist over two legs against Sporting KC in the Eastern Conference Semifinals that Kansas City won 4-3 on aggregate en route to winning MLS Cup.
Rowe followed up his 2013 form with another solid season in 2014, as his five goals and six assists helped propel New England to their first MLS Cup appearance since 2007 – though the Revs fell to the LA Galaxy 2-1 after extra time in the final at StubHub Center with Rowe playing all 120 minutes of the league’s showpiece event.
The Federal Way, Washington, native combined for 12 goals and 13 assists in 2015 and 2016, playing 33 of the side’s 34 MLS regular season games in each campaign, while also aiding the Revolution’s run to the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final in 2016 that saw FC Dallas hoist the trophy at Toyota Park following a 4-2 victory as Rowe started and played the opening 69 minutes of the contest. He leaves New England as the club’s second highest all-time scorer in the U.S. Open Cup, tallying six goals.
Rowe’s consistent performances for the Revolution earned him his first look at the international level in 2017, when he was selected to the U.S. Men’s National Team for the 2017 Concacaf Gold Cup. Rowe made his national team debut on July 1, 2017 in a friendly against Ghana before appearing in two group stage games at the Gold Cup – recording an assist on the game-winner against Panama before netting his first international goal in the win versus Nicaragua. The U.S. would go on to win the 2017 Gold Cup with the help of current Sporting KC defenders Matt Besler and Graham Zusi. Rowe earned his fourth and most recent cap for the U.S. in a friendly against Bosnia and Herzegovina on Jan. 29, 2018.
Collegiately, Rowe spent two years at UCLA, recording 13 goals and 20 assists while earning All-Conference honors in each season. He was named the Pac-10 Conference Player of the Year following a seven-goal, 10-assist season as a sophomore in 2011 as he helped UCLA reach the NCAA College Cup. During his first season at UCLA in 2010, Rowe was named the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year and a United Soccer Coaches All-American.
In addition to his on-field exploits, Rowe was an active member of the community in New England, earning the Revolution’s Humanitarian of the Year award four years running from 2014-2017. Rowe’s primary philanthropic work came through the Jessie Rees Foundation – an organization that helps children with cancer – by hosting his own initiative, “Kelyn’s NEGU Crew” (Never, Ever Give Up) at every Revolution home match, that aims to give each child a memorable experience as they continue to fight cancer. Rowe was named a 2016 MLS All-Star with the Jessie Rees Foundation for his contributions.
Rubio provided 15 goals and eight assists in 51 MLS regular season appearances for Sporting KC over the past three seasons after being acquired in 2016 from Real Valladolid in the Spanish second division. The Chilean international added an additional two goals and an assist in the MLS Cup Playoffs, as well as two goals and an assist in U.S. Open Cup competition and a goal in the 2016-17 Concacaf Champions League.
Transaction: Sporting Kansas City (MLS) acquires midfielder Kelyn Rowe, $100,000 in Targeted Allocation Money and $200,000 in General Allocation Money from the Colorado Rapids (MLS).
Kelyn Rowe (KELL-in roh)
Hometown: Federal Way, Washington
Birthplace: Federal Way, Washington
Previous club: New England Revolution