Jamaica’s Andre Blake Creates history in the MLS SuperDraft
The Philadelphia Union has selected former Clarendon College shot-stopper Andre Blake to be the first-ever goalkeeper drafted first overall in the league’s history. There was also good news for two other Jamaicans as Andre Lewis and Damion Lowe were the 7th and 8th picks respectively.
The Union – who also held the top pick as an expansion franchise in 2010 – swapped the second overall pick and an undisclosed amount of allocation money to D.C. United for the pick.
A Jamaican youth international, the 6-foot-4 Blake was impressive at last week’s MLS Player Combine in Florida after a junior season with the Huskies that saw him win the Big East Goalkeeper of the Year award and win his third consecutive nod to the NSCAA All-American team. He allowed just 15 goals in 20 matches last season while leading the team to the Elite 8 for the third straight year.
Blake was also named this year’s Generation adidas class, which means his salary will not count against Vancouver’s cap until he graduates from the program.
The last time a goalkeeper was taken among the top three picks overall was in 2005, when Chivas USA selected Brad Guzan at No. 2. Guzan has emerged as a regular for the US national team and will likely be part of the US roster at the World Cup in Brazil this summer.
Blake will face a challenge to win the starting job in his rookie season. Incumbent starter Zac MacMath has started 66 matches over the past two seasons – including all 34 last year – after he was drafted fifth overall in 2011.
Former St. Georges College standout midfielder Lewis has so far been the revelation of this year’s Draft after he was picked up by the Vancouver Whitecaps at no.7. In Vancouver he will join fellow Jamaican international Darren Mattocks.
Regarded as one of the top talents in the Jamaican pipeline, a young, creative midfielder who plays on either flank of midfield, h is regarded as one of the most technical young players in Jamaica.
Meanwhile University of Hartford and former Camperdown defender Damion Lowe, son of former Reggae Boy Onandi Lowe, was the third Jamaican picked up in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft as he was snapped up by the Seattle Sounders.
Lowe a Jamaican youth international allowed just 15 goals in 20 matches last season while leading the team to the elite 8 for the third straight year was picked up at the #8 spot.
Last year striker Deshorn Brown, who led St. Elizabeth Technical to the 2009 DaCosta Cup title, was selected with the number 6 overall pick in the first round of the 2013 SuperDraft by the Colorado Rapids while the year before former Bridgeport High star Darren Mattocks was selected with the second pick by Vancouver.
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