Less than two years ago, Kelyn Rowe was dominating South Puget Sound League opponents on the soccer field.
On Thursday, the 2010 Federal Way High graduate was the third overall selection in the Major League Soccer SuperDraft, taken by the New England Revolution.
“I’d like to say I expected it,” Rowe said in a telephone interview. “It’s all been a blur. The past two years have been good.”
Jason Baumgardt, Rowe’s coach at Federal Way, isn’t surprised to see Rowe go from prep to pro so quickly.
“Not at all,” he said, “Kelyn’s a special player.”
A midfielder, Rowe should give the Revolution, which tied for the fewest points in the league last season, an offensive boost. That’s what New England coach Jay Heaps is expecting.
“We went into this wanting to get the best possible player in the draft,” Heaps told ESPN. “We really felt we added a critical (piece) to the team.”
Rowe, who played two seasons at UCLA, said he wasn’t very familiar with the Revolution or Boston, but is looking forward to the new adventure.
“It’s a new fresh start,” he said.
Rowe will report to the Revolution after Jan. 25 when training ends for the U.S. under-23 national team. Rowe, who played club soccer for Crossfire Premier, is vying for a spot on the team that will represent America at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
Baumgardt predicts he’ll make the squad.
“I believe that he will be picked up,” Baumgardt said. “I think we’ll see him in the Olympics.”
Rowe was The News Tribune’s All-Area Boys Soccer Player of the Year in 2010. After high school, Rowe attended UCLA, where he was named the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year and this season earned Pac-12 Player of the Year honors. He also helped the Bruins to the semifinals of the NCAA College Cup – the Final Four of the men’s soccer tournament.
New England’s selection of Rowe earned the Revolution at least one new fan. Baumgardt received a text from Rowe on Thursday morning, telling his former coach he had been draft and Baumgardt shared the news with his 10-year-old son Zane. The youngest quickly sifted through his clothes and proudly slipped on a Revolution T-shirt given to him by family members from the Northeast.
“Kelyn’s pretty much his idol,” Baumgardt said.