Philadelphia Union goalkeeper Andre Blake has been named to Jamaica’s 23-man roster for the 2016 Copa America Centenario, which will take place from June 3-26. Blake will leave for international duty following the Union’s May 28 match against Colorado Rapids.
“We really cannot stress how great it has been to work with the Jamaican Football Federation,” Union head coach Jim Curtin said. “Together, we came to the conclusion that this is what’s best for both parties and we want to thank them for their understanding. We’re excited for Andre and wish him the best of luck as he leads Jamaica this summer.”
Blake, 25, is currently in his third professional season in MLS after being selected with the No. 1 overall pick by the Union in the 2014 SuperDraft. He’s started all 11 games so far this season, holding a 5-3-3 record with a 1.00 goals against average. League-wide, Blake is currently third in goals against average and third in save percentage (76.6). He’s already second all-time in Union franchise history with 68 saves. Blake also broke the franchise’s single-game record for saves (10 against New England Revolution on Sept. 26, 2015) and secured the franchise’s first ever wins, both in Montreal (keeping a clean sheet over the Impact on Aug. 22, 2015), and Columbus (a 2-1 win on March 12, 2016).
Blake’s has been a regular for the Jamaican National Team since returning to full health midway through the 2015 season. He was a member of the Reggae Boyz for the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup, where Jamaica finished as runners-up, as well as making his World Cup debut in 2018 qualifiers in September 2015 as Jamaica advanced over Nicaragua. He’s made 15 career appearances on the senior team with his first coming on March 2, 2014 against Barbados where he kept a clean sheet during a 2-0 win. Blake also backboned the team to the 2014 CONCACAF Caribbean Cup championship where they defeated Trinidad and Tobago in the finals.
In Copa America Centenario, Jamaica has been placed in Group C with Mexico, Uruguay and Venezuela. They open the tournament in Chicago against Venezuela on June 5. They also play Mexico (June 9 in Pasadena) and Uruguay (June 13 in Santa Clara). Jamaica is also in the middle of 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying, where they’ll take on Panama and Haiti in September for their final two matches of CONCACAF’s Fourth Round of qualifying.