Jan. 16, 2014
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - University of Connecticut junior Andre Blake became the first-ever goalkeeper to be taken with the top pick when he was selected No. 1 by the Philadelphia Union in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft on Thursday afternoon in Philadelphia, Pa. Blake joined Chris Gbandi (Dallas, 2002) as the only other Husky to be taken No. 1 overall.
Senior Mamadou Diouf followed Blake when he was selected 30th overall by the Vancouver Whitecaps in the second round. UConn now boasts 31 overall MLS Draft picks, including 10 first-round choices.
Blake, a May Pen, Jamaica native, was widely viewed as one of the most exciting prospects in the years' draft. The keeper has had a tremendous career in a Husky uniform, earning 36 shutouts in his three years as a starter. Blake was twice named the BIG EAST Goalkeeper of the Year and capped off his impressive run as the American Athletic Conference Goalkeeper of the Year in 2013.
"Andre's selection today has verified what we have thought for some time," said 17th-year head coach Ray Reid. "He is a big time goalkeeper and will have a great professional career."
Blake's 36 career shutouts rank third all-time in program history, while his 46 wins are the fourth most by a Connecticut goalkeeper. In 2013, the keeper amassed a 0.75 goals against average and helped lead the Huskies to their third consecutive NCAA Tournament Quarterfinal match. He was named as an NSCAA First Team All-American for the second consecutive season after being tabbed a Third Team All-American following his freshman campaign in 2011.
"For me, everyday I just want to get better," said Blake moments after being selected. "I'm just going to go in and work hard and try to make myself and my team better."
"It was truly a pleasure to work with a talented young man," said UConn assistant coach Mike Mordocco. "The best of Blake is yet to come."
Diouf departs Storrs as one of the most prolific scorers in recent history, tallying 36 total goals, which ranks eighth in Husky history. The Dakar, Senegal native recorded a career-high five assists in 2013 and added two goals. As a junior, Diouf was placed on the All-BIG EAST First Team and was tabbed as BIG EAST Preseason Offensive Player of the Year. The forward was a 2012 NSCAA Second Team All-American after a 15-goal season and was named to the All-Conference Second Team in 2013.
"Mamadou leaves UConn with every possible honor he could have achieved," said Reid. "He is deserving of being drafted and will do a fantastic job at the next level."