When the Seattle Sounders host the New England Revolution on Saturday (7 p.m. PT; Q13 FOX, Univision, KIRO Radio 97.3 FM, El Rey 1360AM | TICKETS), Kelyn Rowe will be coming home. The Revs midfielder is a Federal Way, Wash., native and has spent all six of his professional seasons with New England. SoundersFC.com caught up with Rowe ahead of this weekend’s tilt. (NOTE: This interview has been edited for clarity.]
SOUNDERSFC.COM: How does it feel coming home?
ROWE: It’s great, I was able to see my family yesterday after practice and spend some good quality time as Uncle Kelyn.
SOUNDERSFC.COM: Is your family coming to the match on Saturday?
ROWE: My immediate family, so both my sisters, brother-in-law, nephew and both my parents.
SOUNDERSFC.COM: What did you think about the Sounders when you were growing up?
ROWE: I remember going to the USL games. We loved it, we loved watching these guys play. For MLS to pick up an expansion team here in 2009, unfortunately I was on my way to college at UCLA the following year, but it was great to see and it was very successful. You could see the Seattle community rally around it and really pick it up and make it their own.
SOUNDERSFC.COM: What does it means to play in Seattle against the Sounders at CenturyLink Field?
ROWE: Going to games in Seattle, going to watch the USL team growing up, watching and then being able to play in front of my family and friends, the people who coached me and really made me who I am today, it’s a great experience. Every time I come here, I hope to impress them.
SOUNDERSFC.COM: Did you play against any current or former Sounders while you were with local club Crossfire?
ROWE: DeAndre Yedlin and I grew up around the same area and played on similar teams. He was at Crossfire for a little bit. I never crossed paths with Jordan Morris, he was a little too young for me, I watched Cristian Roldan play at the University of Washington when he was there. When Andy Rose was on the Sounders, he was my captain at UCLA and was a guy I really looked up to, so it was always nice to come back and see him the first couple years.
SOUNDERSFC.COM: You’re hosting a local cancer patient on Saturday as part of your Never Ever Give Up charity. What can you tell us about what you have planned?
ROWE: I’m so proud that Seattle, a place where I grew up, is willing to accept an away player’s charity event. That’s just so cool. It speaks to the club, it speaks to the community, of how much they’re willing to help. Before and after the game, Garen, who’s six years old, and his family get to come onto the field, they get to see the warmups, they get to go up into the suites and watch the game, food and drinks paid for, again because the Sounders are a top-class club for doing that.
After the game, they get to walk on the field. The fans will give him an applause and he’ll get to see the full experience of the game. It puts a smile on the face of a kid who’s going through a hard time and that’s exactly what he needs to be a kid again.
SOUNDERSFC.COM: What do you like most about your charity?
ROWE: We’ve done a lot of events in hospitals and with kids who are struggling with some kind of illness. The change between the time I got in the room and the time I left the room was heart-wrenching. They were full of smiles, they didn’t want us to leave and we kept in touch. Those kept me going.