Calling the last few weeks “extremely difficult” and noting that he will “miss the game dearly”, Kelyn Rowe announced his retirement from professional soccer on Friday.
Rowe played 12 seasons in MLS, the last three of which were spent with his hometown Seattle Sounders. Surely the highlight of those three seasons came in 2022, when he came off the bench to play the final 80 minutes at left back for the injured Nouhou to help guide the Sounders to the Concacaf Champions League title. He famously celebrated by donning a green-and-blue faux fur coat, which was soon covered in champagne.
It was emblematic of his Sounders career, arriving with an unclear role and still managing to make 86 appearances across all competitions.
Once a flare-y midfielder, Rowe remade himself during the second half of his career into more of a utility player. During his Sounders career he made starts at everywhere from forward to defensive midfielder to fullback. In 2021, a year where the Sounders were racked with injuries, he started at five different positions and appeared in all 34 regular-season games to help the Sounders finish with 60 points.
After joining the Sounders, the Federal Way native also started laying the groundwork for a post-playing career in the wine industry. During the pandemic he started to study to become a sommelier and in 2023 he founded Vino FC, a wine subscription service.
Rowe has also been active in the community, founding Kelyn's NEGU Crew, which works with child cancer patients and their families.
He ended his farewell message looking forward: "I'm am looking forward to a vacation, a glass of wine and whatever the future holds for me."