Offseason Notebook

Revolution midfielder Kelyn Rowe is looking for greater success in 2013 after a “rollercoaster” 2012 season. (Photo: Kari Heistad/CapturedImages.biz)

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – It was a rollercoaster season for 2012 first round pick Kelyn Rowe. And the shoulder harnesses locked in before First Kick.

During the preseason, the 20-year-old rookie scored five goals in six games. Four games into the regular season, he collected his first MLS goal at Los Angeles.  It wasn’t long before the early odds were on Rowe to run away with rookie of the year honors.

Then, with the summer months upon him, it all started to fade. Cue the freshman wall – which Rowe will admit stopped him cold.

“(In) the fourth and fifth months (of the season), I got tired,” Rowe said. “I took care of my body, but the coaches told me to get some rest here and there. You can’t just go all out.”

So Rowe adjusted his game. Instead of popping the clutch and throwing it into fifth gear for a full 90, Rowe learned to pace himself. Full-tilt, full-time may work for some, but it’s a difficult credo for a rookie to live by.

“I had to slow down,” Rowe said. “That’s the biggest thing. I’ve always been a guy that’s going to go full-throttle the whole time and give you everything I’ve got and I do that. But now I do that in spurts.”

Soccer may not be a marathon, or sprint. Rather, it’s a series of sprints. If timed correctly, they can make a player of Rowe’s ability a deadly weapon the Revolution can brandish against an opponent.

“(If) you learn to get a couple of touches (and) you get comfortable,” Rowe said.  “Then you’re going to catch them off guard.”

SHUTTLEWORTH THE STARTER IN 2013?

Goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth said he’s had a “couple of discussions” about his future with head coach Jay Heaps. That should come as no surprise given the keeper’s strong finish in the club’s final five games.

However, it appears a firm decision hasn’t been made about who will be the starter between the sticks in 2013. And that’s just fine with the fourth-year pro.

“Regardless of the situation, I don’t want anything to be handed to me,” Shuttleworth said. “I want to be given the opportunity because I deserve it.”

At the moment, Shuttleworth has to believe that he deserves it. A 0.71 GAA and three clean sheets in seven starts suggests he’s ready to be a full-time starter.

Heaps, for his part, remains coy on the topic, at least publicly.

“He’s a pretty darn good keeper,” Heaps said. “We just have to assess where we’re going with Bobby, but we think he’s got great upside.”

LIMITING THE RISKS

While some MLS coaches eschew the practice of postseason training for non-playoff teams, Heaps uses it reinforce the culture he’s worked to instill since taking the reins last fall.

But that doesn’t mean he’s blind to the inherent risks.

“We want to keep training sharp and competitive, but not overdo it,” Heaps said. “This is not about beating the guys up. This is about playing and preparing.”

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About Brian O'Connell

Brian O'Connell serves as editor and staff writer at New England Soccer Today. He's also the Revolution beat writer for ESPNBoston.com, and is Officer at Large for the North American Soccer Reporters. He's contributed to The Associated Press, The Canadian Press, and has been featured on MLSSoccer.com & RevsNet.com. Follow him on Twitter: @BrianOConnell21 or e-mail him at BOConnell21@aol.com