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.
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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.”