You may keep up with Sporting Kansas City on the pitch, but what about away from the field?
Just Because, presented by Hallmark, is a feature series on SportingKC.com that provides an exclusive look into the lives of players outside of soccer—because everyday moments are sometimes worth celebrating just like a game-winning goal.
In the third edition of Just Because, we catch up with midfielder Kelyn Rowe, who joined Sporting Kansas City ahead of the 2019 campaign.
What is your favorite part about Kansas City so far?
The fans. I haven’t had this good of a fan base in all the other places I’ve been. I haven’t had a fan base where they recognize you off the field or outside the stadium. I’ve ran into people when I’m going grocery shopping saying, "Hey, we’re glad you’re here." It just makes me feel welcomed.
What is your favorite place to eat in the KC area?
I’m a high-end guy. I like a place called Corvino in the Crossroads.
Have you been to any BBQ places?
I haven’t tried Joes Kansas City yet, but I am a Q39 guy. I love Q39, their wings and burnt ends are amazing.”
Other than soccer, which sport would you want to go pro in and why?
Basketball, because with the NBA free agency right now, they’ve got a ton of money. So I want all that.
Which athlete did you look up to as a kid and why?
Lance Armstrong. My mom loves tennis and biking and we used to watch it all the time. He won seven Tour de Frances and I know he got caught for doping, but he was the best of the best. Besides the cheating, I looked up to him a lot.
Who is your favorite artist or what is your favorite type of music to listen to?
I’m an acoustic kind of guy. At the moment, I like Lewis Capaldi’s new album. I also like Juke Ross and Leon Bridges. My top concert to see dead or alive would be Queen.
If you had to listen to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Any version of "Free Falling." Tom Petty, John Mayer or a different cover of it but any version of "Free Falling."
What is your favorite movie?
I used to watch movies with my dad, so 1980s movies. We loved Stripes. I also like Ski Patrol and Ski School. I’m also a super hero nerd so any of the Marvel movies.
Are you hooked on any TV shows?
Many. I go through series because we have so much time off, especially on the road. I just started season 3 of Stranger Things. Game of Thrones, too.”
What other professional teams do you support?
Because I was in Boston for a while, I do support the Red Sox. I do like the Bruins, the Patriots and the Seahawks. That also becomes a little bit of a rivalry here, but I do respect the Patriots because I like Tom Brady. Being from Seattle, I have to root for the Seahawks.
Were you rooting for the Bruins in the Stanley Cup Final?
I was, I was against the majority here in Kansas City.
What is your favorite place to travel to for a vacation?
It depends. If I want to see friends and family, then California because I went to school there and I have family in northern California. Then you also have Napa, which is really nice cause I like my wine. I would also say somewhere on a beach. I loved Hawaii, the Bahamas and Portugal. but I am a home body so I would say California.
What is the coolest place you have visited?
I would say the Bahamas because we were on this small island that was, like, four miles long. The locals were so nice and caring, they actually ended up taking us to different islands and you could see all the different cultures.
What do you put on your pizza?
I put pineapple on my pizza. I put just about everything on it.
If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be and why?
Musician-wise, I would say Freddie Mercury because I would want to hear the stories that he had. For an athlete, either Lebron James or Lionel Messi. For a TV star, I would say Brad Pitt.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
It came from my father. Before every game since I was 10 years old, he would say to have fun, be creative and don’t let anyone outwork you. You can relate that to life as much as you can. Obviously I put that into soccer, which is most of my life. But you can put that into actual everyday life by making sure you have fun everyday, be creative and don’t do just the same routine. If you work harder than the next person, whether that be in your job, life or whatever, it leads to success.
What teammate of yours is the best to follow on Twitter?
I don’t use Twitter all that much, but if you follow Seth Sinovic you’re going to get one tweet a year and you’ll have no idea what it’s about. But in Seth’s head, it’s hilarious. They are just totally random tweets.
Who would win an arm wrestling competition on your team?
Eric Dick, easily. He’s a monster.
If you could be any animal in the world, what would it be and why?
A dog. They get the life. You’d get pampered and run around whenever you want. I was going to say a sloth.
Do you have any gameday rituals, traditions or superstitions?
I try not to. Obviously I take care of my body on that day, I try not to eat the same foods or anything like that because I don’t want it to mess with my head. Sometimes you have family in town and have to change things up, or you didn’t go to the store the day before or you’re on the road and don’t have the same meals, so I try not to do the same thing every time because I don’t want to have my mind set on that.”
What accomplishment off the soccer field are you most proud of?
The stuff I do with the Jessie Rees Foundation and the NEGU Crew. It has grown to be something amazing. I have never felt so good about something. The impact we have on those kids and their families is pretty incredible. That is the best work I’ve ever done.
You have a pretty athletic family. Tell us about your sisters and the sports they played in college.
We all grew up playing soccer. My older sister went to the University of Oregon to play four years there and went on to play for the Seattle Reign. She’s been coaching now after she got pregnant. My younger sister grew up playing soccer but she was actually an elite gymnast. She won junior championships and went to the University of Utah and won a national championship in the beam. She was an absolute star. She’s the only one of us to win an NCAA championship, and she makes sure we know it.”
Giving back to the community means a lot to you. How does impacting others’ lives influence you with your involvement with The Victory Project and other initiatives you have led or supported?
The impact I have on the families and kids, you can see through their faces. The impact on me, though, just makes me want to do it more. It can be a very hard thing to do. Some of those kids are not going to make it. Some are in remission and it’s a party. Some are cancer-free and it’s an even bigger party. But sometimes they are going through a hard time and we’re just trying to make them smile because that hasn’t happened in a while. Not just the kids but the families as well, because they all are going through some hard times. The impact is bigger than any one person any group of people. It’s little moments that create long memories.