Thursday’s Major League Soccer SuperDraft was a historic day for the Philadelphia Union, which became the first club in the history of the league to select a goalkeeper with the No. 1 overall pick.
In the aftermath of the draft, many articles have been written to chronicle the event, but it’s the pictures that tell the story.
With the help of Union photographer Greg Carroccio, philadelphiaunion.com put the draft in perspective – specifically for Andre Blake, who was undoubtedly man of the hour among soccer aficionados in Philadelphia.
After kicking off the morning with soccer talk and libations at the Field House Sports Bar…
…The Sons of Ben made their march to the Grand Ballroom of the Pennsylvania Convention Center, undoubtedly winning the most boisterous award during their procession.
Meanwhile, the Union technical staff was wheeling and dealing, as discussions to gear up for the No. 1 pick was in full swing even before the festivities began. Union manager John Hackworth told philadelphiaunion.com writer Kevin Kinkead that obtaining their ideal man in Andre Blake wasn’t possible unless the trade with D.C. United went down.
He didn’t know it at the time, but many of Blake’s future teammates were in attendance sitting front and center in the VIP section.
Union CEO and managing partner Nick Sakiewicz was asked to say a few words to those on hand in Philadelphia, most notably to the throng of supporters clad in light blue, waving flags and chanting “FC NEW JERSEY” to Red Bulls contingent standing in the same section.
Union manager John Hackworth and D.C. United boss Ben Olsen go over some last minute details…
…And the historic pick is made as the Union officially select Andre Blake out of the University of Connecticut with the first overall pick.
Which allows a player groomed to become the next goalkeeper for Jamaica's national team to breathe a hefty sigh of relief.
Current Union players love it…
…Media can’t get enough…
…And Blake loves the notion of playing in Philly too, saying that even though all he knows about the city is that it’s famous for “cheese and steak,” the fans have already made him “feel like family.”
Yeah Andre, they’re good like that.
Contact Union digital editor Kerith Gabriel at firstname.lastname@example.org