The Jamaican defender can't wait to get started in Seattle and add to the club's new look.
For most rookies, the prospect of playing in front of 40,000 fans at CenturyLink Field can be daunting.
However, Sounders FC’s first round pick in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft on Thursday, Damion Lowe, has no problem with big and loud crowds. Not many college players, after all, can say that they have played in front of a crowd of 39,700 fans, as Lowe did in the 2013 CONCACAF U-20 Championship quarterfinals against Mexico last February.
“I’m looking forward to that crowd. It’s awesome. I love the fans,” Lowe said after Seattle selected him eighth overall in the SuperDraft. “I like the environment that Seattle has to bring to the players and I’m looking forward to that.”
Lowe, a Generation adidas defender from the University of Hartford, brings some size with him to Seattle’s backline. In addition to Chad Marshall, Djimi Traore and Zach Scott providing veteran savvy, Lowe, along with Jalil Anibaba, adds youth and athleticism to the defense. Lowe measures in at 6-foot-3 and 175 pounds and proved not only to be a big presence on the defensive side of the ball, but also a threat on set pieces, scoring eight goals in his final two seasons at Hartford.
“He’s a young center back with a bright future. With the trade for Anibaba and now with Damion coming to us, that gives us the youth there that we were looking for. We think he’s got great potential,” Sounders FC Head Coach Sigi Schmid said. “He’ll have some minutes along the way. I think we’re in a good position there, but if he’s ready, he’s going to play.”
Lowe has grown up with a soccer pedigree. His father, Onandi Lowe, played for the Jamaican National Team and in 2001 with the Kansas City Wizards as part of a 13-year professional career that saw him play in the U.S., Canada, Jamaica and England.
With that motivation behind him, Lowe strived to be a professional himself. That path brought him to Hartford, where he helped the Hawks build the program to a 13-4-4 record, the best record at Hartford since 1996.
“I’m always a winner. I was determined to make it happen. We needed to work hard to get it to the top spot. It really became a family. It was a great experience. Coach Poitras saw me as a son. We worked very hard to build a program,” he said with pride. “I have to get to know my new family, my new home now.”
From watching his father play and learning from Tom Poitras at Hartford, Lowe had his share of roll models on the soccer field. On Thursday, he beamed with pride that he rewarded the faith and effort of those that taught him along the way.
“It’s a dream come true. Words can’t explain how great I feel. As a kid I always wanted to play professional soccer,” Lowe said. “My dad played in MLS, and I always wanted to follow in his footsteps and now knowing that I’ve really made that jump … it’s awesome. It’s a great feeling.”
Lowe will join with Sounders FC when the club starts training camp on January 25.