After years of quietly chasing Kelyn Rowe, Sporting Kansas City finally secured his services Tuesday afternoon by showing up late to trade talks between the New England Revolution and Colorado Rapids.
Rowe, who has been with the Revolution since being drafted third overall in the 2012 MLS Superdraft, was the centerpiece of a three-player deal involving Colorado, New England and Kansas City. First, the Revolution traded Rowe to the Rapids for left back Edgar Castillo; the Rapids then sent Rowe to Kansas City with $300,000 worth of allocation money for Diego Rubio, who Colorado had been interested in since the end of last season.
“No doubt it helped having Colorado involved,” Vermes said during a conference call Wednesday morning. “[Colorado GM] Padraig Smith reached out to us even prior to the season ending about Rubio and we had numerous communications back and forth, but to be honest they weren’t really going anywhere.
“Then Kelyn came into the picture because it was a deal that New England and Colorado were doing. Colorado reached out to us and asked if we had any interest in him and we felt it was an interesting opportunity for us. It wouldn’t have happened without Colorado — they were probably the middle man in the whole deal — because there was like-interest in Rubio and Rowe.”
Vermes spoke to Rowe on Tuesday night. Both the club and the player are excited about the transaction, he said.
“Kelyn Rowe is someone I’ve known for a long time,” Vermes added. “I followed him when he was in college and I was interested in him during the draft. I tried to get him the last few years but was unsuccessful, which made this a great opportunity.
“He said he’s ecstatic to be joining us. It’s someone we’ve tried to get for a number of years. Obviously we weren’t fortunate enough in the past, but sometimes if you stick to it you get it and in this situation we did. Like all players we add to the roster, we look to see if they’re a fit based on how they play. He, in our mind, has the qualities that fit our system, and I told him that.”
Rowe is versatile — another quality Vermes prizes in his players — though he will likely play in the center of Kansas City’s midfield. Vermes did not specify what tactics he would employ with Rowe now in the fold, but said his best positions are as either a No. 8 or a 10.
Sporting KC have added three players from within MLS to start the offseason. Joining Rowe on Kansas City’s list of inbound domestic transfers are forwards Erik Hurtado from the Vancouver Whitecaps and Rodney Wallace from New York City FC. Vermes said he is hopeful to make an international signing by mid to late January or early February, in time for CONCACAF Champions League.
“I think we’re close,” Vermes said. “Outside this [international signing], we’ve almost finalized our roster. We put a big emphasis on getting the players we targeted as quickly as possible with Champions League starting Jan. 21. We had to make sure our roster was put together and full going in. We didn’t want late additions, … we wanted to start preseason with a full group.”