Fall 2022

Philadelphia Union's Andre Blake anchored in Christ while becoming top MLS goalie

Philadelphia Union head coach Jim Curtin is on a mission to make sure the consistent excellence of goalkeeper Andre Blake doesn’t get taken for granted. Speaking to the media before the team’s emphatic 6-0 win over the Colorado Rapids on Saturday, Curtin argued that Blake is not only the best goalie in Major League Soccer but also one of its most valuable players.

>> Subscribe to Sports Spectrum Magazine for more stories where sports and faith connect <<

“We almost have been numb to just how good he’s been and I think he’ll obviously win Goalkeeper of the Year, clearly,” Curtin said. “Anybody who doesn’t vote for him would be insane. But I’d like to bring him into the bigger discussion, which is why aren’t goalkeepers considered for MVP candidates? It doesn’t really happen, and he’s certainly a guy who is deserving of that.”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Philadelphia Union (@philaunion)

The Union sit atop the Eastern Conference and have the league’s best goal difference thanks in part to an outstanding defense anchored by Blake. Philadelphia has conceded just 20 goals in 28 games, 10 fewer than any other team in MLS.

Blake has played every minute of every game and has the highest save percentage of any regular starter at 81.3%. He was named an MLS All-Star for the fourth time in his career and may collect a third Goalkeeper of the Year award as well.

His performance over the years has led to speculation about a possible move to Europe, something Blake didn’t shy away from in an interview with MLSSoccer.com earlier this month.

“I think everybody’s dream is to play in the biggest leagues in the world, and so is mine,” he said. “Unfortunately, it hasn’t happened yet for whatever reason, but the show goes on. You just have to keep doing your thing and hopefully one day it happens and if it doesn’t happen, so be it. You just have to kinda bloom where you’re planted.”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Andre Blake (@dre_boy18)

A native of Jamaica, Blake attended the University of Connecticut and was selected first overall by the Union in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft. He became the team’s starting goalkeeper in 2016 as Philadelphia began a string of five playoff appearances in six seasons.

The Union got their first postseason victory in 2019 and won the Supporters’ Shield as the team with the best regular-season record in 2020. Following the 2019 playoff win, Blake posted a picture on Instagram of him and then-teammate Ray Gaddis praying on the field.

“You see, when you build your life on the solid foundation of Jesus Christ, you can withstand any storm life throws your way,” he wrote as part of the caption for the post. “I am so proud of my team and the way the guys fought for that first playoffs win.”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Andre Blake (@dre_boy18)

The 31-year-old regularly references his faith on social media and has “I am never alone God is always with me” in his Instagram bio. He is often pictured wearing a shirt under his jersey that says “Jesus saves.”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Andre Blake (@dre_boy18)

With six games left on their schedule, the Union are just three points back of LAFC in the Supporters’ Shield race and on the verge of clinching a playoff spot. Their next contest is at home Wednesday against Atlanta United.

RELATED STORIES:
Gyasi Zardes finding his form with Colorado Rapids, continues to give glory to God
Former AC Milan star Alexandre Pato finding peace with Orlando City through faith
Ryan Hollingshead drawing peace from the Lord during strong start with LAFC
FC Cincinnati’s Ray Gaddis preparing for new chapter with focus on God
NYCFC’s 19-year-old Talles Magno giving thanks to God along journey to MLS Cup