The New England Revolution have that rare distinction of having fewer losses per match than any of the top four teams in the Eastern Conference. Yet they sit third from the bottom. It’s simply a matter of draws, as they have more than anyone else in MLS: Seven. But by that standard, it cannot be all doom and gloom. After all, a draw is a lot closer to a win than a loss is.
Kelyn Rowe was one with this sentiment. The Revolution midfielder took some time to speak with Stateside of Soccer about the current state of the Revolution and he was very clear about just how positive the Revolution still were.
“We know that we can turn it around,” He said. “We are just right there. We are one player from winning. We have outplayed teams. We just haven’t put away the chances.”
Rowe’s call for one more player seemed to fit all too conveniently with the news of Kei Kamara being traded to New England.
“Like I said, we are one player away from breaking through,” he reasserted. “Kei is proven throughout the years that he is a goal scorer. He was second [in MLS] last year.”
The right-sided midfielder showed a particular interest in Kamara because it is his job to send balls into the box for the attack to put into the net, a role that Rowe relishes.
“I like putting in balls from out wide,” he said. “We have guys up front that can finish.” But Rowe was clear that everyone on the team could benefit from Kamara, as it was everyone’s job to get wide. “We interchange. We have a lot of guys who can go out wide.”
That assessment has proven pretty accurate. Against the Portland Timbers alone, New England fired in 35 crosses. In the end, it was down to an own goal to pull them level. Since then, it has been more of the same for the Revolution, as draws litter their recent fixtures list.
But Rowe was not too concerned with the state of the team. “We know that the next three games at home can make or break the season,” he added. “Everyone has stepped up. A couple guys in particular have been lifting the team and we are optimistic because we are so close.”
Without a doubt, Rowe is one of those guys that have stepped up. In the past two games alone he has contributed a goal and an assist and he is firing more shots than anyone else on the team.
Yet, being a leader on the pitch is just half of the puzzle for Rowe. He has taken a community leader approach to his time in Boston.
Rowe has teamed up with the Jessie Rees foundation, which helps children with childhood cancer, and has formed his own ‘Kelyn’s Never Ever Give Up crew,’ or the NEGU crew for short. It is here that he continues to set himself apart from the rest, establishing himself as a leader.
“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” he said of the foundation. “It creates a positive light. Athletes and people don’t want to say it but we are under a microscope with youth. We have a chance to make a difference.”
Rowe’s NEGU crew has the privilege of welcoming one brave child onto the pitch after certain matches to walk a lap around the field with him. The New England crowd is always ready to high five the children as they pass their section.
“We want to get them out of the hospital,” he noted. “All they ever see is their doctor and their family. We wanted them to be a kid. The idea came about with them just coming to the game and giving them as much attention as possible.”
The foundation has provided plenty of building blocks for Rowe to grow as an individual, whether that be on or off the pitch. “It’s helped me grow more mature and humbler. Seeing these kids, knowing they are fighting for their lives. They always have a smile on their face and it brings you back to earth.”
As far as on the field, it gives even more motivation for the 24-year old, who has already taken on a leadership role within the team. “The games where the kids are there, there is a little more smile [for me], a push to create more, to bring home a win for them.”
Rowe was thankful of the match in Los Angeles, where the Jessie Rees foundation is based, because the LA Galaxy teamed up with the foundation. To make it even more special, Rowe scored a goal in front of the children gathered that day, a goal that he pegged as his favorite goal of his career.
The foundation’s reach is expanding and Rowe was clearly excited that LA had made such a big step towards continuing his efforts. “It was really good of LA. I hope more teams are seeing the model and using it. We are role models for these kids and young adults.”
Having the foundation based in Californa, Rowe has taken on the responsibility of expanding it to the east coast. “That’s where I come in,” he noted. “We visit hospitals and we just want to spread the name over the entire United States.”
Rowe concluded by adding that there was a shirt launch coming up with his NEGU crew and that all proceeds go to helping these children and with finding a cure for childhood cancer.