New England Soccer Today

Rowe: Okoli ‘Chomping at the Bit’ for Sunday

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

As a native of Federal Way, Wash., Sunday’s Sounders-Revolution tilt will certainly be special for Revolution midfielder Kelyn Rowe. But the way he tells it, one of his teammates may be even more excited for it.

Midfielder/forward Sean Okoli was acquired by Revolution from the Sounders in January, only weeks after his option was declined. The 22-year-old former Homegrown Player only saw 18 minutes worth of action with his hometown side in 2014, and was subsequently pegged for USL duty before the trade.

“I think Sean Okoli is just ready for this game against his old team and in his hometown,” Rowe said. “He’s been really chomping at the bit this week especially.”

Okoli is coming off a strong preseason camp in which he scored two goals in six games. He also showcased his versatility by playing up top and centrally in the midfield.

But his stats only tell part of the story. According to Rowe, his fellow Federal Way neighbor arrived in Foxborough fully ready to do anything that was asked of him.

“He’s come in and never expected anything and he’s always worked for everything,” Rowe said. “I think he’s earned a lot of respect from the guys, and that’s hard to do when you’re coming to a team and you’re a new guy.”

Whether Okoli gets the chance to see the pitch on Sunday remains to be seen. Though he made his case for a spot in the First Kick XI during the winter, it’ll largely depend upon if his skill set is required in the later stages.

“He can really hold the ball up well,” Rowe said. “He’s really good using his body, and that’s a pretty big attribute, especially for him since we use that one-forward system.”

In the past, Revolution coach Jay Heaps has shown an inclination to give opportunities to players in front of their friends and family, which Okoli is sure to have plenty of at CenturyLink Field. But he won’t be only Revolution player who’ll have a number of familiar faces watching.

“I know my parents have bought a ton of tickets, and are passing them out,” Rowe said, with a laugh. “It’s going to be great.”

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