Federal Way’s Kelyn Rowe has signed to play for the Sounders FC, according to a report from The Athletic’s Jeff Rueter. The club didn’t offer comment regarding the transaction.
Rowe, 29, signed a one-year deal to play for the New England Revolution last season. It was his second stint with the club, also playing for the Revs from 2012-18.
Last season Rowe started 10 of his 16 matches primarily as a defensive midfielder. He totaled 68 minutes in three matches during New England’s playoff run to the Eastern Conference final where the Revs lost to the Columbus Crew SC.
Rowe has started 179 matches in nine seasons with New England and has appeared in 240 total, scoring 29 career goals and assisting on 42 others.
Rowe, who has a prominent tattoo of the Seattle skyline on his left triceps, led Federal Way to a state runner-up finish as a freshman in 2007. He briefly trained with the Sounders club in high school and while in college at UCLA, where he was named Pac-12 player of the year in 2011, but was never signed by his home state’s Major League Soccer team.
News of Rowe’s signing is the first in what is expected to be a busy week for the Sounders. The club has yet to officially announce coach Brian Schmetzer’s new contract and MLS is in the process of renegotiating its collective-bargaining agreement with the Players Association.
MLS commissioner Don Garber spoke with media Tuesday about December’s decision to invoke the force majeure clause of the June 2020 CBA agreement. The MLS Players Association has 20 days as of Tuesday to respond and are expected to speak publicly about the league’s proposal Wednesday.
The clause was triggered, in part, because multiple teams will play a second season without fans in attendance due to COVID-related restrictions. Most clubs, including the Sounders, draw most of their revenue on game-day.
Garber believes the proposal isn’t a structural change and puts most of the financial impact of playing amid the pandemic on the owners. Players would not endure a pay cut in 2021 under the league’s proposal, but this is the third time in a 12-month span that the sides have negotiated a contract.
“We don’t go into a process like this where we’re looking forward to conflict with our players,” Garber said in response to players vocalizing their frustration at the clause being invoked. “I’m hopeful that after they saw our proposal they might think a bit differently about it.”
The league is still aiming for a mid-March start and some teams are expecting players to report to training camp by Jan. 25. The Sounders opened training camp on Jan. 14 last season but offered no information about this season’s plans.
Garber stated operations are continuing under the current CBA until Jan. 28, which is the “hard deadline” to reach a new deal and avoid a lockout.
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