In a matter of minutes, highly-regarded playmaking midfielder Kelyn Rowe ping-ponged across the league in a trade involving the New England Revolution, Colorado Rapids and Sporting Kansas City.
New England, which has been Rowe’s team since his professional career began in 2012, swapped Rowe for Rapids left back Edgar Castillo. The Rapids then sent Rowe to Sporting KC in exchange for forward Diego Rubio, $100,000 in Targeted Allocation Money and $200,000 in General Allocation Money.
The move significantly alters the rosters of all three teams, particularly the Revolution, who have been hesitant to trade Rowe for years despite continued interest from a number of clubs.
“Kelyn is a player who we watched in college and we have continued to pay close attention to him over the years in Major League Soccer,” Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes said in a statement. “He’s a guy that we have always admired from afar and someone we think that can play multiple positions as a midfielder or as a winger. We are very excited to add him to our roster.”
Vermes will address the media regarding the transaction in a conference call Wednesday morning at 10 a.m.
Rowe had established professional roots in New England since being taken by former coach Jay Heaps as the third overall pick in the 2012 Superdraft, and he had varying degrees of success with the club.
He emerged as a potential playmaker for the United States men’s national team and established himself as a creative option in the heart of the midfield. But Rowe was largely under-utilized the past two seasons as the Revolution struggled to cope with injuries and a lack of depth. He often filled in at left back, his unnatural position.
By gaining Castillo, a proven quantity on the flank with international experience, the Revs have finally, if ironically, found a way to turn Rowe into the asset they needed at left back.
“On behalf of the organization, I want to thank Kelyn for the past seven years he has spent representing the New England Revolution with professionalism on and off the field,” Revolution general manager Michael Burns said in a statement. “Beyond his numerous contributions on the field, he will always be remembered by the club and the fans for his work in the community. We wish Kelyn all the best.”
Castillo, 32, joined the Rapids last year after 11 professional seasons in Liga MX with Santos Laguna, Tigres, Tijuana, Atlas, San Luis, Puebla and Monterrey. He recorded three goals and five assists for Colorado in 2018.
“We are excited to welcome Edgar to the Revolution and look forward to having him join us in New England ahead of preseason next month,” Burns said. “We believe his experience at both the domestic and international levels, including his successful first season in MLS with the Rapids last year, will immediately benefit us this season.”
Rowe has been a hot topic on the transfer speculation mill for years. His hometown Seattle Sounders have reportedly sought his talents since he entered the league, though Sounders general manager Garth Lagerwey often complained about New England’s stiff negotiating tactics. Last season, at least two teams in Israel also expressed interest in acquiring Rowe.
Unless Kansas City offers Rowe a new deal before 2020 or his contract changes as a result of this trade, he will be eligible for free agency at the end of the next MLS season.