Though Rowley scored 28 goals as a junior, he did so with a senior-laden roster. This past season, Rowley was literally a marked man on a Cooperstown young squad.
“After four years (of varsity soccer), my last year was a lot of man marks,” Rowley said. “Even though we lost a lot of athletes (from the 2011 team), the younger kids stepped up and filled in roles. When people marked me, it freed up kids on our team. This past season, I realized I had to take on more of a defensive role. I knew I wouldn’t get as many chances. I tried to do the same things, but I just had to capitalize on my chances.”
Added Miosek: “He had to play a lot of defense and he had a great year for us. It was a better year for him. He matured as a player and made everyone around him better. He has a real passion for the game.”
Once Cooperstown’s season ended, Rowley stepped into a significantly higher level of soccer, playing for the Empire United out of Syracuse.
Come August, it’ll get even tougher as Rowley has earned a spot on the Empire Revolution out of Rochester.
Asked the difference between high school soccer and the competition he’ll see in Rochester over the next 10 months, Rowley said: “It’ll be a very big difference. A lot of the players, their goal is to play some sort of pro soccer. They play year-round. Stature-wise, they’re bigger, they know the game better and they’re so much faster.
“It’s pretty much the highest level of youth soccer in the U.S.,” he continued. “That’s where a lot of the best players are.”
Rowley, 17, said he’ll take classes at Monroe Community College while he plays for Rochester. He added that the following season, he’d like to be suiting up for an NCAA Division I program.