Fans who have watched the Union in the last two seasons have been treated to spectacular goalkeeping, much in part to the 2016 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Andre Blake. The Jamaican international has put up highlight reel saves for Philadelphia week in and week out, but it’s his leadership that has blossomed over the years.
Blake’s growth as a leader has flourished with the club, but that trait has developed with his time with the Reggae Boyz and the Jamaica National Team. Blake has appeared 31 times in net for Jamaica, with 18 of those caps coming since 2016.
In Blake’s 31 appearances for the Reggae Boyz, he’s recorded nine career shutouts. He really flexed his muscles and showed his ability to be a leader last year during the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup, where he wore the Captain's Armband throughout the competition starting with a 2-0 win over Curacao to begin the tournament.
He served as the captain again while registering his second consecutive shutout in Jamaica's next tournament game vs. Mexico in a masterful performance in the Mile High City. In the Quarterfinals, he was again the captain and made four saves in his 28th cap leading the club to a 2-1 win over Canada helping Jamaica reach the Semifinals.
The most impressive performance of the tournament for Blake came in the Semifinals where he shutout Mexico yet again, this time in Pasadena, California. Blake wore the captain’s armband and stood tall in a five-save performance to carry Jamaica to the finals.
Despite leaving the tournament final early with a hand injury, the Jamaican captain was named the Golden Glove winner as the best goalkeeper in the tournament. Blake was also named to the Best XI for the event.
In 2018, Blake has started off strong recording two shutouts in two matches for the Union. Blake is now the only regular starting goalkeeper in MLS to own a perfect 100 save percentage, and not allow a goal this season.
Blake’s ability to wear the armband and back up his leadership with his play on the field is what has given teammates on the pitch the belief that Blake has taken on a new role as his career goes on, not just for Jamaica, but for Philadelphia Union as well.