Watch CBS News

Union gifts goalkeeper Andre Blake with red, white and blue cleats to celebrate U.S. citizenship

Digital Brief: Sept. 19, 2023 (AM)
Digital Brief: Sept. 19, 2023 (AM) 02:15

CHESTER, Pa. (CBS) -- The best goalkeeper in MLS now has some new boots.

The Philadelphia Union surprised Andre Blake on Monday with some red, white and blue cleats — signed by the entire team — to celebrate him becoming a U.S. citizen over the summer.

"One of our leaders, a great guy on and off the field, the best goalkeeper in MLS," midfielder and team captain Alejandro Bedoya said at a team gathering near Subaru Park in Chester.

Blake won the 2022 MLS Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year award, becoming the first player in MLS history to receive that award three times. He previously won it in 2020 and 2016.

Blake's saves were key in the team's run to the MLS Cup last fall. A native of Jamaica, he is still captain of Jamaica's national team and is a dual citizen.

READ MORE: Union and Chester leaders break ground on new $55 million sportsplex

"Andre, I know how hard you've worked to get to this point, to be the best goalkeeper, but also off the field, you and your family strived to become American citizens, so congratulations to you," Bedoya said before handing Blake the commemorative cleats. "I hope you take advantage of all the privileges and responsibilities that come with becoming a U.S. citizen, I look forward to seeing you in the voting booths."

A close-up of the red white and blue cleats signed by the entire Philadelphia Union team to commemorate goalkeeper Andre Blake becoming a U.S. citizen. Philadelphia Union

The cleats were a surprise that came as the Union organization was gathered to celebrate the youth academy and entire Union pipeline being at the same campus - in April, the team and Chester leaders broke ground on the WSFS Bank Sportsplex, which will house those programs.

"Definitely an amazing feeling to celebrate this moment with the only club that I have known ever since becoming a professional player," Blake said. "Looking forward to having a lot more memories with this club and hopefully we can get an MLS Cup soon. Let's go!"  

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.