Major League Soccer’s 2014
The first two rounds of Major League Soccer’s 2014 Super Draft took place this past Thursday, January 16th. Expectations were high as many top players were prospected at the Combine, proving their skills and athleticism, hoping to impress the right team and secure a draft pick. Andre Blake, a goal keeper at the University of Connecticut and a member of Generation Adidas, impressed prospectors so throughly that it shook up the entire draft order.
Philadelphia Union didn’t have the first pick going into the day, but their desire to obtain Blake was so great that a surprise last minute trade led them to claim that first pick. This is the first time a goalie has been chosen first in the Super Draft in MLS history. Andre Blake originally hails from May Pen, Jamaica, born in November of 1990. At 6’4”, 175 pounds he is an impressive athlete, and was noted by many MLS coaches and mangers to be the most attractive player coming into the draft this year. He is fast, strong and has amazing reflexes, blocking goal shots that seem impossible for lesser players. Manager of the Philadelphia
Union John Hacksworth noted that Blake “can do stuff now that nobody in our league can do.” Blake also has the experience to distinguish himself from other rookies, having played on the Jamaican National Team as well as with Generation Adidas. But Blake will certainly have a lot to learn with his new team, most likely taking on the role of backup goal keeper to current Union keeper Zac MacMath. Further into the season the two will most certainly be battling for the starting job. Blake also has a lot to learn about his new home town as he admitted, “I don’t know much about Philly… I heard something yesterday about how it’s the place for cheesesteak or something.”
Philadelphia’s move to obtain Blake as the first draft pick was certainly an impressive one, but their overall performance at the MLS Super Draft is even more impressive, picking up three other top notch players that fill positional needs within the existing team, making them a serious contender for the 2014 season. Mid-fielder Pedro Ribiero of Coastal Carolina, center back Kevin Cope of Michigan State and left-back Robbie Derschang of Akron are all expected to round out the team. These are all positions the Union desperately needed to fill or improve upon from this past season. They are hoping to improve upon their 12-12-10 season, which ranked them 7th in the Eastern conference for 2013. The Union will be a force to be reckoned with this year as the talent pool stands right now, and there are still two rounds of the Super Draft to go, plus many trades that will take place along the way.
Maybe it was good karma that the MLS Super Draft was held in Philadelphia this year, or maybe the team just had good planning and prospecting, but the Philadelphia Union came out the clear winners in this year’s MLS Super Draft. With Blake at the head of the class and the other rookies filling out with needs of the team, the possibilities of this team’s upcoming season are exciting.
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