A Jamaican is the first goalkeeper to be the top pick in Major League Soccer (MLS) SuperDraft history.
Philadelphia Union, in a last minute deal that enabled the club to move from the number two spot, selected Andre Blake, an All-American in three seasons with the University of Connecticut.
The 23-year-old Jamaican admitted he was surprised to be chosen.
“I was thinking maybe I was going in the top four, but I didn’t see number one coming,” he said. “It’s great. It comes with pressure. You are the overall number one pick and you have to go out there on the pitch and show them it was a good choice of taking you there. But I am a goalkeeper and I have been under pressure all the years of my life. I am going to go out there, work hard on the pitch and show them it was a good choice.”
The Union, which has made the play-offs once in its four seasons, also gave up money in the deal to land Blake.
“We didn’t believe he would have been available at number two and he’s too special of a talent to pass up,” said Union manager John Hackworth. “He can do stuff now that people in our league can’t do.”
A graduate of Clarendon College, Blake was a member of the Jamaica Under-17 and Under-20 teams. He started all 25 games in his freshman year with the Huskies, finishing the season with 19 wins, 3 losses and three draws, including 15 shutouts.
The Big East Goalkeeper of the Year in his first college season, Blake was one of three Jamaicans to be selected in the SuperDraft’s top 10.
The Vancouver Whitecaps took midfielder Andre Lewis with the seventh pick while the Seattle Sounders picked up defender Andre Lowe, the son of former Montreal Impact and Jamaican striker Onandi Lowe, who scored 27 goals in 65 international.
Regarded as one of the most technical young Jamaican players, Lewis broke into his country’s senior team two years ago. Lowe, who played three seasons at the University of Hartford, represented Jamaica in last year’s Confederation of North, Central American & Caribbean Associations of Soccer Under-20 championship. He graduated from Camperdown High School and played youth soccer with Harbour View.
Meanwhile, Trinidad & Tobago defender Kareem Moses has signed a one-year contract with FC Edmonton of the North American Soccer League.
“It’s every player’s dream to play abroad, to see other places and make your family proud,” said the 23-year-old. “So I am really excited.”
Moses represented T & T at the Under-23 level before making his senior team debut in 2012.