Zac MacMath might have some competition for the starting goalie spot in 2014 after the Union selected keeper Andre Blake first overall.
As far as the Union are concerned, they drafted the best player available at last week’s MLS SuperDraft. They didn’t want goalkeeper Andre Blake to slip past their grasp.
From a team standpoint, he’s invaluable to their future.
“[Andre’s] clearly a guy who has a very bright future,” said Union manager John Hackworth. “He had an excellent career at UConn, but he’s also a Jamaican International player already. This is a guy who we think has tremendous upside. He needs a little bit of time but we think we’ve given ourselves a guy who will be incredibly valuable to our future.”
He’s also already making history. Blake became the first goalie to ever get selected with the No. 1 pick in the SuperDraft. He was widely rated as the top prospect in the draft.
Blake says that he realized how good he was at a very young age and has been working on his craft ever since.
“I started playing soccer around 7 or 8 years old,” said Blake. “My dad and my brothers were really into the game and I came to find that standing in the goal and catching the ball was something that I really liked. It seemed like it came easier to me than most people and that’s when I started realizing that it was a blessing and a gift more than it was a hobby.”
Standing at the podium on draft day, Blake was given a large ovation by the Union fans in attendance. They started a “one of us” chant, showing that they will be fully behind him in the coming years.
“I loved [the chants],” said Blake. “I haven’t even played yet and to have that kind of support is awesome. They seem really passionate and that’s something that I really like.”
He may be familiar with goaltending, but the city of Philadelphia is a totally different story. He’s excited to see what the city has to offer.
“I don’t know much about Philly,” said Blake. “I heard about some good places to go for a cheesesteak, but that’s really as much as I know. I’m excited to find out more and more about the city as soon as possible.”