We are continuing on with our coverage of potential SuperDraft prospects for the Chicago Fire. To go back and read other posts in this series, please head over to our story stream here. Next up in the series is Andre Blake - a goalkeeper from the University of Connecticut.
Name: Andre Blake
College: University of Connecticut
Height/Weight: 6'4"/175 lbs.
Career Goals Against Ave.: 0.001
Andre Blake is currently a junior at UConn. If Blake decides to go pro, he will very likely be inking a Generation Adidas (GA) contract. When TopDrawer Soccer ranked potential GA prospects, Blake was at the top of their list. Here is what J.R. Eskilson and Travis Clark wrote about him in late November:
The Jamaican international is a mouthwatering prospects [sic], at least when you look at his physical tools. A tremendous athlete with unbelievable reflexes, he can produce more than one or two game changing saves per game, and is in a position to compete for a starting job next season. His mentality and maturity are a work in progress, as he can be prone to an on-field outburst and his decision-making can be called into question.
As mentioned above, Blake is a Jamaican. He has spent time with the Jamaican National Team and was called up to the senior squad this past June. He has yet to receive his first international cap, however.
Blake has received a ridiculous number of accolades so far at UConn. One of the most impressive awards was being named the BIG EAST goalkeeper of the year as a freshman (an award that he won again in 2012), which made him the first freshman to ever win a major BIG EAST award. Part of that fantastic freshman season was setting a Connecticut record with nine straight shutouts from September 9 to October. 12, 2011, spanning just over 961 minutes.
As Eskilson and Clark wrote, Blake is a tremendous athlete. Some of the save he makes are jaw-dropping.
Will The Fire Draft Him?
With Paolo Tornaghi out, the Fire need to find a successor to Sean Johnson. While Johnson may not be gone just yet, it is possible that he could be gone very soon.
There are a whole laundry list of reasons the Fire would not select Blake. For one, he might not be available by the time the Fire even get to their first pick. If he is available in the first round when the Fire are on the clock, do they use that pick on a goalkeeper? It would seem unlikely. There are a couple of good goalkeepers in this year's SuperDraft, and the Fire should be able to get one of them in a later round.
Referring back to what Eskilson and Clark wrote, Blake has a lot of intangibles, but needs a lot of work developing his decision making. This could be said about most every keeper out of college. Drafting a a goalkeeper would be good for the long term, but it might be fool hardy to expect a rookie goal keeper will be ready to replace Johnson in the next year. The Fire might want to look for a goalkeeper already in the MLS.
And lastly, again referring to what Eskilson and Clark wrote, Blake sounds to be a bit of a hot head. I could believe that as he has one of the most menacing profile pictures I have ever seen. It is important for a goalkeeper to be able to keep their composure when the defense breakdown and mistakes are made. This adds another variable on top of questionable decision making that a team has to take in to consideration. It could just be a maturity thing. If it is more than just a maturity issue, however, then it could be something that will hold Blake back from reaching his potential as a goalkeeper.