Birthplace: Omaha, Nebraska
Position: Center back
College/Former Club: Orange County SC
Q: Tell us a little bit about your soccer journey.
“I started off playing soccer when I was five on a little team called Las Vegas Crush with all of my friends. From there, it has been a pretty interesting journey. No path is really straight and narrow and I’ve gone through a lot of different programs and I have been blessed with a lot of opportunities. When I was 16, I moved to Seattle. I first started out in the Academy for the Sounders. Then, I went to UNC, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, for one semester. I was very thankful to be a Tarheel before signing my first pro contract with Orange County SC when I was 18. I was there for a few years and was loaned out to Union Omaha and won a championship there. Now I am here.”
Q: Tell us a little about your personal journey outside of soccer.
“It was a pretty family oriented group. We started out in Omaha but I moved when I was four then we grew up in Vegas. I have one sister named Ashley. She is one of my best friends and both my parents are my best friends. When I was 16, I moved to Seattle and I lived with a host family on Mercer Island, who are also now part of our family and I love them very much. I went from being a younger brother to my sister to being an older brother to two little boys and a little girl. That was a really fun dynamic for me to flip from being the one that would tattle on my sister to the one that had to lead and control and be a role model. It was a really loving environment on both sides and I love all of my family.”
Q: Why did you choose to pursue a career in soccer?
“Growing up, my first thought was always to help out my family with a scholarship to college. College is really expensive and I kind of wanted to take some pressure off of my family and myself and try to do what I could to get into college and get a scholarship so we didn’t have to pay. That is kind of what set me on my journey. I realized that in sixth or seventh grade. From there on, that is when I started to pursue it more aggressively. Then when I was 16, when I was a sophomore in highschool committing to the Sounders, that is when I really decided that maybe I wanted to try to push further and see if I could make a professional living out of it, as well as the college aspect. That is when I really got serious and dialed in. I got devoted to really giving it everything.”
Q: Outside of soccer, what are some of your hobbies?
“I think one of the best hobbies, if you can consider it a hobby, is the friendships that I have made all over the country. I have all my best friends that I grew up with in Vegas that are my ride or dies that I will always have by my side. No matter what, no matter which state I have moved to, I have always been able to give them a call. In each place I have gone, all the relationships I have built, they have been a big component of what has helped me stay focused and keep going. When times got hard or maybe I felt like I was slacking or giving up, I have had people that push me a little bit further, like my best friend Zach or all the miscellaneous components. I also love to read. I don’t like romance books. I have tried those and I can’t get behind them. I mostly read fantasy or action if I can. Maybe a little mystery. I like a good mystery book. I love to golf. If I wasn’t a soccer player, I would try to go pro in golf.”
Q: Who is your biggest inspiration on the pitch?
“I will go with Sergio Ramos, who is a player I think that growing up he was one of the best center backs I have ever seen. From his pure devotion, his aggression to win every tackle, and his performance on the ball as an offensive player, as a center back, it was phenomenal. I have really enjoyed watching him and his career and sadly, it is starting to go away a little bit. I think Sergio Ramos is my biggest influence on the field.”
Q: Who is your biggest inspiration off of the pitch?
“It might sound cliche, but I think I would have to go with my dad being the most influential member to me. Growing up, I knew his background and the tough and hard times that he went through. I knew he was an athlete, so I kind of wanted to try to prove to him that I could be somewhat as good as him and hopefully make him happy and proud, which hopefully I have done and continue to do. He is arguably my best friend. We talk every day. He has really kept me going. He has been there through all of the tough times. When I first moved to Seattle and had those lonely nights, he was on the phone with me. He has really been my block, my anchor and kept me going.”
Q: How would you describe your style of play on the field?
“I think I am pretty calm when I am on the field. I like to lead. I like to have a voice. I think it is really important to push others into the right spots and to just push them emotionally when they hear your voice. I try to be as vocal as I can. I really like to stay calm and anticipate and just feel where the game is going. I like to look at body language and movement to decide what is going to happen and where I should go. I really like to anticipate, but I am also calm on the ball and love keeping it and possessing.”
Q: What would you say your lifestyle is like off the pitch?
“I think I am pretty social. I do like to have my friends around and make sure we have quality time and are spending time together. I also think that it is important to have self reflection in your own time to figure yourself out, who you are, your identity, your goals, your beliefs. I think you have to have knowledge of yourself to be able to go out into the world and be yourself and be yourself around other people. I guess that transpires to the field because like I said, I am pretty calm. I know who I am and what I will do on the field and that way I can help maneuver and shape the team into hopefully what is the right spot so that we can succeed.”
Q: What is your go to pre match/pre training meal?
“Chicken and rice is a pretty basic one that I always stick with. I also love a good sandwich. I don’t like to eat a lot before games so usually I will eat five or six hours ahead of time and then just drink a lot of water and lots of gum.”
Q: What is your favorite cheat meal?
“I have so many cheat meals. I love Freddy’s steakburgers and an Oreo concrete. Yeah, I could eat that all day. That is probably my biggest cheat meal and it is right across the street from us, so it is really dangerous.”
Q: Give me three words to describe Blake the soccer player.
“Motivated. Calm. Passionate.”
Q: Give me three words to describe Blake the person.
“Kind. Honest. Loving."
Q: Do you have any game day/training routines or superstitions?
“I have a lot of superstitions. When I go to put my socks on, I have to feel which sock feels more like a right footed sock. Even if it says right, I have to feel it. If it feels like a left footed sock, I put it on the left foot. I have to put a piece of gum in before warm up and I have to put a new piece of gum in right before kickoff. I chew Extra spearmint gum. Those are my two big ones.”
Q: What does your day look like on an off day?
“It depends. Sometimes it is nice to just hangout, watch some TV with my roommate, go to Target, get miscellaneous groceries. Other days it is nice to go out, explore and see downtown Denver, maybe go for a hike, the pool. It varies depending on the day, but it’s always something and usually something with a friend or a teammate and involves some camaraderie.”
Q: What does wearing the Rapids 2 badge mean to you?
“I think it has been a wonderful opportunity and I am really blessed to be able to wear the badge. Everyone here from the staff down to the players and everyone behind the scenes has been absolutely extraordinary. It is a really loving environment. I am only a couple months new here, but as soon as I walked in the door it has really felt like family. It really is a place that I have loved to be and hopefully can continue to grow and develop at. I am very fortunate to be a part of this club.”
Q: Do you have a badge in your personal life that represents who you are as a person? Ex: family crest, tattoo, meaningful item/symbol.
“It would have to be the symbol of a little bird. That is for my mom because growing up she would always tell me and my older sister to always trust your birdie and follow your heart. I think that is something I try to take with me every morning I wake up. I want to be as honest to myself and to other people as I can and really just follow my heart and do what I know to be right. Just trust my birdie.”