CASA GRANDE, Ariz. – By most accounts, Kelyn Rowe’s rookie season was an unqualified success. Last year’s third overall SuperDraft pick appeared in 30 of the New England Revolution’s 34 regular-season games, finishing tied for the team-lead in assists (5) and ranking third in goals (3).
But Rowe’s production had a tendency to come in spurts; stretches of brilliance followed by periods of relative quiet. Now as he enters year two as a professional, consistency is the name of the game for the 21-year-old playmaker with limitless potential.
“Kelyn has pretty much no ceiling; sky’s the limit because he has so much talent,” said head coach Jay Heaps. “The key is making sure that we get him consistent every game and set a bar. Can he play above that bar? Absolutely, but the key is that he doesn’t play below that bar.”
Last year, Rowe admitted his performance dipped midseason when the length of the grueling 34-game schedule began to take its toll. Accustomed to a four-month college season, the grind of a 10-month professional season was a shock to the system. But that experience will serve Rowe well in 2013, when he’s confident he’ll be better prepared for both the mental and physical demands of a long campaign.
“I’ve been through the year so I’ve learned to manage my body, I’ve learned to manage what I eat, I’ve learned to manage my time when I’m off,” Rowe said. “I think it’s going to be a lot easier mentally and physically on my body and it should be a better year for me.”
According to Heaps, preparation for the grind ahead begins now, during preseason.
“During the early part of preseason and into the season, you have to gauge your own tempo and you have to gauge how much energy you’re exhausting early in games,” he said. “I think Kelyn has a much better feel for that this year. It’s going to be important that he fights through when it does start to feel long and when it does start to feel monotonous.”
Rowe aims to apply lessons learned last year as he continues to grow and develop his game throughout year two, noting speed of play and crossing ability as two areas of focus. Along the way, he’s constantly driven by the rising expectations of those around him.
“The expectations grow, I think,” Rowe said. “I had that first year, I got it under my belt and I played a lot. The fans, the coaches, the players all saw me play and now they’re looking for that, or more. Myself, I want more.”