Three trades, two players...one frenetic first round of the MLS SuperDraft for the Philadelphia Union.
The first trade allowed the Union to move up and grab the No. 1 overall pick.
With that coveted selection, the Union took University of Connecticut goalkeeper Andre Blake. He’s the lone goalkeeper to ever be taken with the No. 1 overall pick in the SuperDraft.
Blake recorded 10 shutouts with a 0.75 goals against average to win the American Athletic Conference Goalkeeper of the Year Award.
Blake had 36 career shutouts in three seasons with the Huskies.
Heading into the SuperDraft, Blake wasn’t sure to expect. Not long after hearing his name called by Commissioner Don Garber, Blake was still a bit stunned.
“It’s a great feeling, man,” Blake said. “I just answered that question and it’s good pressure coming with the No. 1 overall pick. Now you’ve got to go out there on the pitch and show them you got a good choice. No. 1, there’s a little bit of pressure, but I’m a goalkeeper and I’ve been under pressure all the days of my life. I want to go out on the pitch and show them it was a good choice.”
Blake has been doing just that on the pitch his whole career at Connecticut.
Next stop, PPL Park.
“Maybe the reality of it hasn’t hit me just yet,” Blake said, smiling. “Right now, it’s crazy, man. It was great. I haven’t been there (PPL) yet and I love it.”
Not to mention one of Philadelphia’s finest pieces of cuisine.
“I don’t know much about Philly but I heard something yesterday already about a place for cheesesteaks,” Blake said.
Two more trades later, the Union wound up at No. 15 and picked Coastal Carolina midfielder Pedro Ribeiro.
Ribeiro had 31 goals and 26 assists in four seasons with the Chanticleers.
In addition to being a 2013 MAC Hermann Trophy semifinalist, Ribeiro was also an NSCAA and Soccer America Second Team All-American.
He’s stoked about the next phase of his soccer career with the Union and expressed that joy on social media shorty after being announced:
Could not be happier for being drafted by @PhilaUnion. Super excited to be part of such an amazing organization!— Pedro Nezio Ribeiro (@pedronalribeiro) January 16, 2014
“I don’t even know what to say … I have no words to explain how happy I’m feeling,” Ribeiro told philadelphiaunion.com in a telephone interview. “I don’t know except to say I’m so happy and excited. I met coach John (Hackworth), but I had no idea I would be picked by the Union. When I got the call and heard my name was called, I was so excited. I didn’t expect it. You don’t know what’s going to happen.
“All I know is that I’m so happy and being part of the draft and getting to play for the Philadelphia Union … well, it couldn’t be a better situation for me. I can’t wait.”
The Union weren’t done.
With the No. 25 overall pick, they selected Michigan State defender Kevin Cope.
Cope was part of a stingy defense which recorded 13 shutouts and advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament
Two selections later at No. 27, the Union took University of Akron defender Robert Derschang.
Derschang began his college career at Southern Methodist University and transferred to Akron in 2012.
As a senior at Akron, Derschang also played in the midfield and was tied for third on the team with four goals.
What do you think of these four new Union additions? Leave a comment below.
Contact Union writer Andy Jasner at email@example.com