Youth Focus: MLS Next Pro's leading scorer powers Crew to road win in first MLS start

Jacen Russell-Rowe, signed by MLS's Columbus Crew from Columbus Crew 2 on Wednesday morning, had a quite game for his first MLS start.

The 19-year-old Canadian forward had two assists in the first 30 minutes as the Crew beat Toronto FC, 2-1, at BMO Field.

Toronto FC held his MLS Homegrown Priority rights, and the Crew had to send the Reds $50,000 in General Allocation Money for 2022 -- with the potential for additional allocation money -- to acquire MLS Next Pro's top scorer.

“Having the first Crew 2 player sign for the first team is a milestone moment for our club and over time we hope that Jacen is the first of many Crew 2 players to join the first team,” said Columbus Crew assistant general manager & Crew 2 general manager Corey Wray.

Since his first game in MLS Next Pro on March 26, Russell-Rowe scored 11 goals and grabbed two assists, a run that included goals in nine straight games and make him MLS Next Pro's leading scorer, one more than Orlando City B's 22-year-old Jack Lynn.

The 6-foot-1, 176-pound Russell-Rowe made his debut for the Crew June 18 against Charlotte FC while on short-term loan. After two loans, the Crew had to sign him to a permanent deal if it wanted to sign him.

Hailing from Brampton, Canada, Russell-Rowe represented Canada at the under-17 level before playing two seasons at the University of Maryland.

“This signing showcases the benefits of having a second team and is a testament to the success that Crew 2, and Jacen, are having this year," said Crew president & general manager Tim Bezbatchenko.

3 comments about "Youth Focus: MLS Next Pro's leading scorer powers Crew to road win in first MLS start".
  1. Santiago 1314, June 30, 2022 at 1:12 p.m.

    Man-Child.!!! any USA Parentage Possibilities there.??? 
    We are Looking for a #9 Still.!!!

  2. Santiago 1314, June 30, 2022 at 1:19 p.m.

    Interesting... 2 years Playing at University of Maryland, doesn't seem to have "Stunted" his Growth.???

  3. humble 1, July 1, 2022 at 1:44 p.m.

    Interesting pathway - as a whole, it did not exist prior to 2017 in USA.  USL1, MLS Next Pro are new.  I'm in the middle of it with my player there are more options that ever.  This is good.  Lotta hard work has been done to make these options appear.  Thankless work, but important work as it sets the table for players like young Jaden to develop.  Testament to the young man and his family that he found his way, it is a dynamic landscape that players and families navigate today, easy to take a wrong turn.  The Dempsey and Donovan path is gone.  There is not a better college stop-over for a player with professional aspirations than Maryland and the college game is the one constant throughout our history. Well done. One to watch. Keep it going!   

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