KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Kelyn Rowe is trading life on the West Coast to begin his professional career on the opposite side of the country.
The New England Revolution took the UCLA and US youth national team playmaker with the third overall pick in Thursday’s MLS SuperDraft, adding Rowe to a roster that already includes former Bruin midfielder Benny Feilhaber.
Rowe, 20, recently completed his sophomore season at UCLA, during which he was named Pac-12 Conference Player of the Year after a season in which he scored six goals and added 10 assists. That followed a freshman campaign in which he was named Pac-10 Freshman of the Year, scoring seven goals to go with 10 assists. He is a member of the 2012 Generation adidas class, leaving school to turn pro after two seasons.
Revolution manager Jay Heaps will have plenty of time to ease the 5-foot-8 midfielder into action, as Rowe will compete for minutes with Feilhaber, club legend Shalrie Joseph and veteran Clyde Simms, among others. New England finished tied with Vancouver for the fewest points in MLS last season with 28.
Rowe, who is currently training with the US U-23 team in California in preparation for the 2012 Olympic games in London, claimed a starting spot during the U-20’s unsuccessful campaign to qualify for the U-20 World Cup this summer. He helped lead UCLA to the College Cup in the fall, where they fell in the national semifinals.
Rowe joins an impressive group of Bruin alums in MLS, including Feilhaber, Kevin Hartman, Amobi Okugo, Sal Zizzo, Marvell Wynne, Nick Rimando and Jordan Harvey. UCLA has produced the most MLS players of any college in the league’s history.
Chance Myers (Sporting Kansas City, No. 1) and Tony Beltran (Real Salt Lake, No. 3) were the most recent UCLA products to be taken with a top-three pick, hearing their names called in 2008.