The Union announced Thursday that star goalkeeper Andre Blake signed a contract extension through 2024, with a club option for 2025. Blake’s current contract, which he signed in January 2018, was to expire at the end of this year.
“Andre was the backbone of the best defense in MLS last season and has been a key piece of our club’s success the past few seasons,” Union sporting director Ernst Tanner said in a statement, a few days after signing a contract extension of his own. “His high level of play has allowed us to give young defenders such as Mark McKenzie, Kai Wagner, and Olivier Mbaizo opportunities to prove themselves at the MLS level.”
Though the contract is a long-term deal, that doesn’t mean he’ll be here for all of it. A two-time MLS goalkeeper of the year (2016 and 2020), he has long drawn interest from teams in Europe — especially England, where many of his fellow Jamaicans make their club homes. If he plays big for Jamaica’s national team in the final round of World Cup qualifying, which begins in September, he’ll surely attract another round of suitors.
Blake, 30, is currently with Jamaica at the Concacaf Gold Cup. He helped the Reggae Boyz shut out Suriname, 2-0, in their opener, and should pick up another win Friday night against lowly Guadeloupe (6:30 p.m., FS1, UniMás, TUDN).
“As the rest of the league recognized last year, we have the best keeper in North America, and he is continuously getting better,” Tanner said. “While his play speaks for itself on the field, his mentality and the leadership role he has taken in our young squad has been as equally important. We are thrilled that he will remain with our club for years to come.”
Two game dates changed
The dates of two Union home games later this year have been changed. Their Oct. 2 contest against Columbus has been moved to Oct. 3, a Sunday, at 4 p.m. — the same day the Eagles host the Chiefs in a 1 p.m. kickoff.
A postgame fireworks show had been planned for after that game. It will now take place after the Sept. 3 game against New England.
Also, the Union’s Oct. 30 game against FC Cincinnati has been moved to Oct. 31, also a Sunday, at 7:30 p.m. The Eagles are at Detroit that day in a 1 p.m. game, but more importantly, some Union fans with young children might complain about having trick-or-treating time taken away.
The Union’s announcement of the rescheduling had no details on why the moves were made. Both rescheduled games remain set to be televised on PHL17.