Union keeper Andre Blake wins this year’s Wanamaker Award

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This year’s Wanamaker Award goes to Union goalkeeper Andre Blake, for his outstanding final season in the nets at Subaru Park.

Blake backed a Union defense that is on course to set a new Major League Soccer record for fewest goals conceded in a 34-game season. The record of 27 was set by Sporting Kansas City in 2012, and the Union gave up 22 with two games remaining.

Individually, the 31-year-old Jamaican earned his fourth All-Star selection this year and is on course for a third Goalkeeper of the Year award.

“I am grateful to be recognized by the Philadelphia athletic community and honored to accept the Wanamaker Award on behalf of my family, my teammates and the entire Philadelphia Union organization,” Blake said in a statement. communicated. “Throughout my career, I have strived to exemplify on and off the court what it means to be a strong leader and community advocate. I hope I have inspired the future generation of young athletes to work hard and pursue their dreams.

READ MORE: Andre Blake presented his latest star performance for Union last weekend

Union manager Jim Curtin surprised Blake with the announcement during a movie showing. He listed a few names of past winners, including Wilt Chamberlain and Reggie White, realizing along the way that some of his players were too young (or not from here) to know who they were.

“It shows how the sport has grown in Philadelphia,” Curtin told his players. “An incredible player, we all know that, an incredible leader here in the team.”

It is the second time in a row that a football player has won the Wanamaker, after Delran’s Carli Lloyd won it last year at the end of his decorated career.

Three other awards will also be presented at the annual Wanamaker Luncheon, scheduled for October 26 at the Crystal Tea Room in Center City. (It’s a Wednesday, before Union fans ask, between the conference semifinals and the Major League Soccer playoff finals.)

Longtime Temple fencing coach Dr. Nikki Franke, who retired in August after 50 years at the helm of the Owls, will receive the David P. Montgomery Lifetime Achievement Award.

READ MORE: Nikki Franke’s remarkable fencing career is a win for women’s sports and black female athletes

The Anderson Monarchs, famous for their baseball program, but also for their football and basketball teams, are the recipients of this year’s Robert P. Levy Community Service Award. (Monarchs alumna Mo’ne Davis was a state champion football player at Springside Chestnut Hill High School).

Finally, the Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation will honor the late Parkside Saints youth football coach, Cliff Smith, with the Sports Volunteer of the Year award. Smith founded the Saints program in 2010 and died in March last year of complications from COVID-19. His family and current Parkside coaches will receive the award in his memory.

READ MORE: Cliff Smith dedicated his life to building the Parkside Saints. After his death, the players dedicated their season to him.

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