CLEVELAND -- “I’m not going to stop learning.”
That was Kelyn Rowe’s reaction after scoring his first goal for the US men's national team, and seeing 61 minutes of action in a 3-0 win over Nicaragua in the Gold Cup group stage on Saturday night. The New England Revolution midfielder is seeing his first senior-team action during the tournament -- but he's not wasting too much time celebrating.
Instead, he says, this is all about learning and improving. “Any day I go out and play and I get to talk with the coaches, get a video session, and get on the field, is a lesson," he said after the match. It's not just the coaches, though, of course, but also his teammates, who continue to offer wisdom. “These guys who have been around and played all over the place are guys you want to learn from.”
At least one of those veterans definitely noticed on the night, and offered public praise -- Alejandro Bedoya, the night's captain, who provided the assist on Rowe's goal. “He’s been a major standout performer now," he said. "I think he’s definitely done well for himself. I’m very happy for him... He’s going to keep improving. The more confidence he gets and everything. I’m looking forward to see what he brings to the future.”
Still, that future isn't quite there yet, everyone acknowledges. US head coach Bruce Arena offered measured compliments in his post-game press conference. "He’s still a young player and this is a whole new experience for him,” he said of Rowe. “I think he’s done fine over the three weeks. He certainly needs more experience above the club level at the international level, but he’s shown well for himself.”
Now, Rowe knows it's up to him to keep pushing whenever and wherever he gets playing time, for country and for club. “I take it and hopefully run with it," he says of his national-team momentum. "Hopefully I can get back and use those lessons in the future."