Philadelphia Union have officially announced the signing of a contract extension with their star goalkeeper, Andre Blake. The new deal keeps Blake with the club through 2026, with an option for 2027, further cementing his legacy as a cornerstone of the team's success.

Blake, 33, stands out as the only player to have won the MLS Goalkeeper of the Year award three times. Additionally, he is a four-time MLS All-Star and a three-time MLS Best XI selection, accolades that underscore his exceptional talent and consistency.

"Since joining the team, Andre has been a foundational piece to the club’s achievements," Union sporting director Ernst Tanner said in a statement. "He has shown himself to be one of the best goalkeepers in North America, and along with his proven sporting value, has taken on a leadership role both on and off the field. His guidance will play an important role in the further development of our young players and the team’s success. We’re happy to have reached an agreement to keep him here in Philadelphia."

Since being selected No. 1 overall in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft, Blake has been a stalwart in goal for the Union, amassing 73 clean sheets in 236 matches. His stellar performances have been instrumental, particularly during the club’s 2020 campaign when they clinched the Supporters' Shield.

Blake's influence extends beyond club soccer. As an integral part of the Jamaican national team, he has earned 75 caps and often serves as the team's captain. His leadership and skill have helped the Reggae Boyz reach two Concacaf Gold Cup finals.

With Blake’s extension, Philadelphia Union fortify a veteran-heavy core as they aim for a seventh consecutive appearance in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs. His presence in goal not only enhances the team's defensive solidity but also provides a role model for younger players coming through the ranks.

Blake’s commitment to the Union and his continued excellence between the posts signal a bright future for both the player and the club. As Philadelphia Union continue their pursuit of further silverware, having a player of Blake’s caliber and experience will undoubtedly be a significant advantage.

 

 

 

Both members of Jamaica’s female gymnastics team of Isabelle David and Alana Walker have advanced to the final round of the women’s all-around category at the Pan American Championships being held in Santa Maria, Colombia.

David’s score in the qualification round for all-around was 47.967 which placed her 12th while Walker’s score of 47.067 placed her 16th among the 24 finalists. David was also named as a reserve for the final rounds of both the beam and floor exercise categories.

Her scores in the beam and floor were 12.267 and 12.200, respectively.

"I am so excited to have made it to all-around finals and be a reserve for two events," David told Sportsmax.tv.

"It is such a great accomplishment and I'm proud of myself for being able to achieve it. I'm so honoured that I was able to represent Jamaica to the best of my abilities during the qualifying competition. I am so excited to have another opportunity during the all-around final competition. I hope to show off all of the skills that i have worked so hard to get," she added.

Walker reacted to competing for Jamaica on the international stage once again.

“It felt really good out to get back out there on the international competition floor after a long three years off,” she said.

“Although it wasn’t my best, I’m very proud of how I performed yesterday. It was fun to be out there with Izzy and the coaching staff and very exciting to find out I made all-around finals. I’m very thankful to team Jamaica for their continued support and belief in me. I’m ready to get back out there, do my best and represent Jamaica with Izzy tomorrow,” she added.

 

Greg Vanney is aiming to build some momentum for the LA Galaxy as they look to end a run of four draws against the Houston Dynamo on Saturday.

The Galaxy are on a five-match winless run in MLS, with another goalless draw against Charlotte last weekend seeing them drop to fourth in the Western Conference.

After a run of four away games in their previous five outings, LA are now due to play four of their next five at Dignity Health Sports Park, which is also where they got their last win.

"This is a big phase for us to really build some momentum in all ways, being in front of our fans and being at home for this next stretch," said Vanney, as quoted in The Galactic Tribune.

"Obviously, we've got to go on the road once more, but hopefully build on the momentum and get some points."

Houston Dynamo have won just one of their last six MLS matches and dropped more points in a 1-1 draw with FC Dallas last Saturday as they sit eighth in the West.

Ben Olsen is upbeat about the Dynamo’s recent performances, though he admits they need to learn lessons from their recent results.

"The reality is the performances aren't necessarily resembling the points that we're getting," he said.

"We're actually in a nice rhythm of consistency. I know it's hard to say that when we're not maximising points, but the way we're going about the games is pretty good, and it's pretty consistent.

"We'll keep working at it. That's all you can do. What else are you going to do, quit?"

PLAYERS TO WATCH

LA Galaxy – Joseph Paintsil

Paintsil has contributed to at least one goal in four straight home matches (two goals, three assists), including recording an assist in the last three.

Only one Galaxy player in the last decade has recorded an assist in four straight home matches: Douglas Costa between June and August 2023.

Houston Dynamo – Ibrahim Aliyu

Amine Bassi scored his first goal of the season in Houston’s 1-1 draw with Dallas last weekend, becoming the ninth different Dynamo player to find the back of the net.

However, only one player has netted more than a single goal for them this campaign, with Aliyu netting four.

MATCH PREDICTION – LA GALAXY WIN

The Galaxy’s 0-0 draw with Charlotte on Saturday was their fourth consecutive draw and they’ve shared the points a joint-league high seven times this year. LA have drawn five consecutive regular-season matches only once before, doing so in May 2009.

The Dynamo have lost only one of their last six away matches against the Galaxy dating back to 2017 (two wins, three draws). Houston have kept clean sheets in each of their last two visits, and the only team to keep three straight clean sheets at the Galaxy in MLS play is the Columbus Crew, who did so between 2004 and 2006.

However, the Dynamo have alternated between wins and losses on the road this season, including a 1-0 defeat to Austin in their last away match. Houston have won four away matches in a single regular season just once since 2014, winning four times away from home in 2022, including at the Galaxy.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

LA Galaxy – 42.4%

Draw – 25.6%

Houston Dynamo – 32%

Vanni Sartini has no problem with Vancouver Whitecaps fans who wish to cheer Lionel Messi when Inter Miami visit BC Place on Saturday, but he wants his players to ignore the Argentine's presence and focus on themselves.

Miami are currently leading the way in the Eastern Conference and the Supporters' Shield race, with last week's 1-0 win over D.C. United lifting them to 31 points from 15 games. 

Messi has contributed 10 goals and nine assists in MLS play this year, and he is expected to feature in Canada despite sustaining a knock in a training session earlier this week.

Supporters' desire to see the eight-time Ballon d'Or winner play has led to some bizarre atmospheres since he arrived in MLS, but Sartini will not tell Vancouver's fans who to applaud.

"It's like going to the Louve and saying, 'don't cheer for the Mona Lisa'. Messi is an Opera artist," Sartini said in his pre-match press conference.

"I'm going to be more excited to see David Beckham than Messi… it's a generational thing. I hope Beckham comes, even my wife will be more happy if Beckham comes!"

Changing tone, Sartini said: "We cannot limit the danger of Messi and Luis Suarez. 

"We must prevent the ball from being passed towards them and we need to be in the right state of mind. Let's forget about Messi and focus on our own performance."

Vancouver currently occupy the final automatic playoff spot in the West, taking 19 points from their first 13 matches of 2024.

Messi's Miami team-mate Robert Taylor believes the World Cup winner has made the rest of Gerardo Martino's squad better this year, saying: "Everyone knows what he

brings on the field; he scores, he assists, he does amazing things on the field, he brings us results. 

"Then in training, there's this energy around the team, he makes everyone better.

"That's because of his personality, he wants to win every game – even in training – and I think that's been lifting everyone up a lot recently."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Vancouver Whitecaps – Ryan Gauld

Gauld scored a stoppage-time penalty to earn Vancouver a 1-1 draw against the Seattle Sounders last time out, and the Whitecaps' last five goals in MLS play have now been scored either by the Scot (two) or Brian White (three).

Inter Miami – Lionel Messi

Messi has failed to record a goal contribution on two successive starts for just the second time since joining Miami last year. 

The last time Messi went three or more straight starts in league play without contributing to a goal was on his first four starts for Paris Saint-Germain in Ligue 1, between September and October 2021.

MATCH PREDICTION – DRAW

Despite progressing in the Canadian Championship on away goals in midweek, the Whitecaps are winless in their last four matches across all competitions (one draw, three losses).

Miami, meanwhile, are unbeaten in their last nine, winning six and drawing three, though they were held to a goalless draw in their last road game against Orlando City.

Messi missed that Florida derby, though, and the Herons have won their last seven league matches when he has been named in their starting lineup, boasting an overall record of 10 wins, two draws and one defeat in 13 league games with Messi starting.

The Whitecaps, however, are unbeaten in their last nine regular-season games against Eastern Conference opponents dating back to the start of last season, winning four and drawing five.

The only team from the East to win in Vancouver since the start of 2021 was the Chicago Fire in July 2022. With that in mind, a draw could be on the cards on Saturday.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Vancouver Whitecaps – 38.5% 

Inter Miami – 31.7%

Draw – 29.8%

Despite his extensive experience and success coaching female teams, Xavier Gilbert’s introduction to the Jamaica Premier League (JPL) was expected to be tough, especially guiding a team such as Arnett Gardens.

Well aware of how most felt about his chances in the nation’s top-flight, Gilbert was determined to overcome the challenges of gaining experience at that level, and also prove his doubters wrong, and he did just that, for the most part. Though he didn’t lead Arnett Gardens to a long-awaited title –dating to the 2016-17 triumph –Gilbert, who is an assistant to senior Reggae Girlz Head coach Hubert Busby, believes a third-place finish was an achievement of sorts.

This, as it not only follows a similar outcome from last season but, more importantly, earned them a spot in the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Caribbean Shield where they will challenge for one of two spots to the more prestigious Concacaf Caribbean Cup.

The “Junglists”, who placed fifth in the preliminary round on 49 points, hammered Waterhouse 5-1 in the third-place encounter to finish behind Champions Cavalier FC and beaten finalist Mount Pleasant FA.

“Pressure is natural, and it helps us focus on meeting our objectives. So, I saw that pressure as a positive motivator for us to attain our goals. We didn't win the title or make it to the finals, but finishing third and getting a spot in the CFU Caribbean Shield is definitely an achievement.

“The season was very competitive, especially between the teams in the top six, and then there were those teams that improved throughout the season. We prepared for all our opponents and gave our best each time we touched the field and it is just unfortunate that we couldn’t go all the way,” Gilbert told SportsMax.TV.

“I want to applaud the players, my support staff, management, and everybody, who played a part in ensuring the players were healthy and fed, the community and the fans. I want to thank them for their support and commitment, and as we look forward to the CFU Caribbean Shield, we just want to do well to ensure that we make it to the CONCACAF level to join Mount Pleasant and Cavalier,” he added.

Gilbert knew his decision to take the reins at Arnett Gardens would prove a sound one, as he made astute changes to their tactical approach along the way that contributed to his fairly successful debut season.  Still, the tactician credited the players led by veteran Fabian Reid and rising star Keheim Dixon for delivering at very high standards, so that he could realise his ambitions of keeping the team competitive.

“Every team offers a different level of competition and you have to adjust accordingly based on what is happening on the day. Sometimes you plan to play a particular way, but based on how things are unfolding on the day, you just have to change and make that adjustment and adapt as quickly as possible. That is among some of the things that I learned through the season,” Gilbert revealed.

 “Also working with the players was a major high point, the level of respect and professionalism that they showed throughout the campaign was great and that was a rewarding experience. Technically we played well, but the results didn’t always match our performances. So going forward we’re trying to learn from the mistakes of the season and hope to perform better in the CFU Shield and hopefully, the Concacaf Club Championships,” he shared.

Every coach has a unique philosophy, and for Gilbert dedication to hard work and giving people what they deserve are crucial factors for success. In fact, he was quick to point out that belief in teamwork and harnessing individual potential for the collective good are just as important and that is the inspiration they are taking into the Caribbean Shield set to unfold from July 25 to August 4, at a venue to be announced.

“Our expectation is to build on what we have achieved so far and finish in the top two and advance. We know it is not going to be easy, but the players are excited, they are looking forward to it and it is just for them to go out and make themselves, the club and the community proud. It is also a good way for them to market themselves, so I know they want to make the most of it,” Gilbert ended.

Bahamian Auburn University Tigers sophomore Keyshawn Strachan produced a best throw of 74.63m in the men’s javelin competition of the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round competition at the University of Kentucky Track & Field Complex in Lexington, Kentucky, on Wednesday.

With the throw, the CARIFTA Under-20 record holder advanced to the NCAA Division 1 Outdoor Track and Field Championships for the first time.

The 20-year-old finished third in the Wednesday’s competition, with all three of his throws (70.54m, 71.37m, 74.63m) surpassing 70m.

His personal best and Bahamian national record 84.27m was done at the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays in 2023 at the Mike A. Myers Stadium.

Wanya McCoy, a junior for the University of Florida Gators, moved on to the quarterfinals of the men’s 100 and 200m, winning his heats in 10.29 seconds and 20.34 seconds respectively.

Wanya McCoy made it through to the quarterfinals in both the 100m and 200m.

He finished tied with the sixth fastest time going into the quarters in both events, and will have to finish among the top 12 to move on to the NCAA Championships.

McCoy was a runner-up in both the 100m and 200m at the SEC Outdoor Championships in Gainesville earlier this month.

Also advancing in the 100m were Caymanian two-time Carifta U-20 gold medallist Davonte Howell of Tennessee (10.35), Jamaica’s Jehlani Gordon of Georgia (10.41) and T&T’s Omari Lewis on Liberty (10.39).

Jamaican Florida State Seminoles sophomore Jordan Turner also advanced to the NCAA Championships after jumping 7.74m to finish fourth in the men’s long jump.

Jordan Turner advanced in the long jump.
 

American Championship Conference (ACC) outdoor shot-put champion Courtney Lawrence of Clemson also booked his spot at the NCAA Championships with a throw of 19.61m to finish sixth.

Jamaican LSU sophomore, Jahiem Stern, ran 13.38 to lead all qualifiers to the quarterfinals in the men’s sprint hurdles set for Friday.

Clemson senior and ACC Outdoor champion Tarees Rhoden made it through to the quarterfinals in the men’s 800m with 1:47.89 to win his preliminary.

Jamaica’s Jevaughn Powell of Florida (45.85), D’Andre Anderson of Clemson (45.87), Reheem Hayles of Florida (45.99) made it through to the quarters in the men’s 400m.

The men’s 400m hurdles saw Bajan Tennessee senior Rasheeme Griffith (50.40) and Jamaican South Florida sophomore Devontie Archer (51.13) make progress.

The 2024 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships is set for June 5-8 at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.

 

Jamaican quarter-miler Ackeem Bloomfield has announced his retirement from track and field at the age of 27, Sportsmax.TV has confirmed.

 The two-time World Championship 4x400m relay silver medalist has reportedly informed the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association of his decision and has also requested to be removed from the Registered Testing Pool (RTP) with the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO). Marie Tavares, Executive Board Member of the JAAA confirmed Bloomfield’s retirement on Thursday, saying “He has. I got confirmation yesterday, either yesterday of the day before.”

Tavares opined that it sounds as if Bloomfield, a former Kingston College star, will be concentrating on his academics but was otherwise uncertain about his motivations.

Bloomfield, who holds the distinction of being the second-fastest Jamaican ever over 400m with a personal best of 43.94 seconds, first burst onto the scene as a promising young talent. He became the first Jamaican schoolboy to break the 45-second barrier, a feat that heralded a bright future in athletics. However, his career trajectory was hindered by a series of prolonged injuries and personal challenges, including the emotional toll of his mother's death in 2021.

After a standout collegiate career at Auburn University, where he set his remarkable 400m time at the NCAA National Outdoor Championships in 2018, Bloomfield signed with Puma and joined the MVP International training group in Florida. His talent and potential were on full display at the 2019 World Athletics Championships, where he finished eighth in the 400m final with a time of 45.36 seconds.

In 2021, seeking a fresh start and recovery from a debilitating hamstring injury, Bloomfield moved to train with Rana Reider’s Tumbleweed group, where he reunited with high school rival and Calabar star athlete Christopher Taylor. Bloomfield declared himself fully recovered and expressed optimism about his future in the sport. “It was a really bad injury to my right hamstring. I did an intensive rehab process after I got injured. Even though I shut down my season I was still doing rehab. So, I can say for the most part, right now I’m 100 percent healthy,” he said in an interview with On Point.

Despite his determination, Bloomfield’s journey continued to be marked by transitions. In September 2022, he left Tumbleweed to train under former Jamaican Olympian Sanjay Ayre at Chase Athletics Track Club. However, he departed from Chase Athletics a year later, signaling the turbulence that characterized the latter part of his career.

Bloomfield’s last known competitive performance was at the Tom Jones Invitational in April 2023, where he ran 45.52 seconds to finish sixth. This race marked the end of a career that, despite its ups and downs, offered glimpses of what could have been.

Antigua and Barbuda’s top senior men’s sprinter, Cejhae Green, is set to make a third Olympic Games appearance, as he recently hit the men’s 100 metres qualifying mark of a flat 10.00 seconds while competing at the PURE Athletics Sprint Elite Meet in Florida, recently.

Greene, 28, who represented his country at the 2016 and 2020 Games in Rio and Tokyo respectively, has qualified for this summer's Paris Olympic Games scheduled for July 26 to August 11.

He achieved the feat when he placed second behind American Kendal Williams who registered a world leading time of 9.93 seconds. Greene's time of 10.00s, is the fourth fastest time this year, as he copped silver ahead of Puerto Rico's Eloy Benitez, who clocked a time of 10.04 seconds.

The Antiguan had previously clocked 10.16 seconds in the preliminary round.

After months of inactivity, Trinidad and Tobago senior women's football team will get the opportunity to shake the proverbial rust, as they are set to participate in the three-team Caribbean Queen's tournament in Curacao from May 28 to June 3.

An invitation from Curacao Football Federation was welcomed by the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA), as participation in the tournament will not only assist in player development, but more importantly, will keep players engaged ahead of next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifiers.

The week-long tournament, which will also involve Aruba, will see each team will play each other twice, in what will be Trinidad and Tobago’s senior team’s first competitive outing since their Concacaf women's Gold Cup qualifying campaign, last year.

"The respective member associations have been working together to facilitate the tournament to provide competitive matches for our respective women's teams as there are no Concacaf or Fifa women's competitions this year," TTFA said.

The team will once again be led by former Police FC coach Richard Hood, who will be assisted by Rajesh Latchoo, the TTFA Director of Youth Football and Under-17 women's coach.

Hood's squad is expected to be a development team, featuring senior players, members of TTFA's ongoing High Performance programme, and standout performers from the 2024 Republic Bank National Youth Football League campaign.

"This tournament is viewed as an ideal opportunity to continue to expose our younger players to a competitive environment," TTFA stated.

The women Soca Warriors will kick off the tournament against Aruba on May 29, before crossing swords with host Curacao, a day later. After a two-day break, Hood's team will wrap up the friendly competition with matches on June 2 and 3 respectively.

Last year, the women Soca Warriors finished bottom of their three-team Concacaf women's Gold Cup qualifying group with Mexico and Puerto Rico. They ended with a solitary point from four matches.

Trinidad and Tobago women are ranked 75th, while Curacao and Aruba are ranked 179th and 185th respectively.

Naggo Head of St. Catherine ended the penultimate day of the INSPORTS/Devon Biscuits Primary Schools Athletics National Championship with a 28.5-point lead over defending champions Lyssons of St. Thomas after 21 of the 40 finals at the National Stadium on Tuesday.

Naggo Head, who are the Central champions, have amassed 117 points, well clear of Lyssons on 88.5 points. Greater Portmore are sitting in third spot with 68 points while Half-Way-Tree Primary are fourth on 49 points. St Richards completed the top five on 45 points.

Five records were broken on the second day. In the day’s first final, Yasheka Lewis of Gregory Park broke the Girls’ Cricket Ball Open record, throwing 49.22m, well over the previous mark of 44.45m held by Taheisha Brown of Lyssons Primary since 2023. Santana Brown of Brompton Primary was second with 46.31m.

Nickholet Brown of St John’s Primary erased the Girls Lump Jump Open mark with a leap of 4.61m while her schoolmate Odainna Creary broke the 70m hurdles record clocking 11.52 seconds.  

The outstanding Waivany Walker of Naggo Head won the Girls’ Class One 400m in 1:01.10 and was just outside the record of 59.27 held by Andrenette Knight of Morant Bay Primary since 2009.

The boys’ equivalent saw Lawrence Tavern Primary grab the top two spots courtesy of Joshua McWilliams in 58.52 ahead of his teammate Jahaija Griffiths in 59.05. The outstanding record of 53.46 is held by Christopher Taylor of Ewarton Primary since 2012.

The promising Keneisha Robinson of Naggo Head broke the Girls’ Class Two 300m record stopping the clock at 43.32 erasing Teixiera Johnson of Exchange Primary’s mark of 43.43 set in 2022.

Johnson is now at Hydel High and won the Class Three sprint double at the recent Boys and Girls High School Championship.

Zidane Morgan of Ascot Primary captured the Class Two Boys 400m ahead of Ramon Young of Yallahs Primary in a very close battle. Both were timed at 42.28 seconds.

The 100m sprints were exciting and the promising Kashmir Gunther of Southborough Primary won the Boys’ Class One 100m in 12.47 holding off Deandre Parker of Rousseau Primary in 12.52. Joshua McWilliams of Lawrence Tavern was third in 12.81.

Lyssons made up some ground picking up first and third in the Girls Class One 100m courtesy of Khalia Raymond (13.20) and Kahlia Senior (13.48). Asha-Lee Montique of Red Hills Road finished second in 13.39.

Allia Royal of Davis Primary won the Girls Class Three 100m in 14.12 seconds, the same time as second-placed Arianna Lewis of Half-Way-Tree Primary who clocked the same time. Jadah-Kay Pitt of Rock Hall was third in 14.22.

In one of the most anticipated clashes of the championship, Shaquan Reid of Glen Stuart won the Boys’ Class Two 100m in 13.16 just ahead of Davere Walker of Lyssons in 13.29. Jaden Reid of Southborough was third in 13.39.

Shamara Chin of Greater Portmore took the Girls Class two 100m in 13.45, edging Sarah McDonald of Naggo head into second spot with 13.46. De-Asia Segree finished a close third also in 13.46.

Shemika Dobbs of Windward Road won the Girls’ Class Four 60m in 9.06 seconds ahead of Earthania Wray in 9.17 and Amanda Allen of Corinaldi Avenue with 9.21.

Conjay Scarlett of Corinaldi took the Boys’ Class Four 60m in 8.87 ahead of Jaquan Smith of Harbour View in 9.00 with third going to Demario Lewis of Rock Hall in 9.11 seconds.

By the end of the relays, Naggo Head had opened up a significant lead after winning two events and showed consistent running in all classes.

 

 

The Suncorp Super Netball league has no shortage of international superstars, but the clash between the West Coast Fever and Adelaide Thunderbirds well and truly showcased the Jamaican excellence the competition hosts.

With six Jamaican Sunshine Girls split evenly between the two teams, the battle was fierce and full of flair, as it eventually ended 57-56 in favour of the Fever.

Jhaniele Fowler-Nembhard is no easybeat, and with the likes of Shanice Beckford serving her the ball on a silver platter, the Fever had no issue with scoring.

However, Shamera Sterling-Humphrey and Latanya Wilson would not let it all go the Fever’s way, picking off deflections left, right and centre.

At the other end, Romelda Aiken-George and Kadie-Ann Dehaney went head-to-head in another enormous battle, which well and truly highlighted the impressive agility and elevation of the Jamaican superstars.

All close friends off the court, the six players united after the match for a brilliant Jamaican team moment, sharing a dance for the remaining crowd.

Shimona Jok (left) was one of many high-performing Jamaicans this week.

Elsewhere, Jamaican Shimona Jok won the player of the match award for her impressive 50-goal game in the Maverick’s 69-62 win against the Firebirds, while another Jamaican Jodi-Ann Ward worked in overdrive in the Sydney derby. However, her GIANTS team went down 52-76 to New South Wales Swift, led by Trinidad and Tobago’s Samantha Wallace-Joseph.

After another week of intense battles, it comes as no surprise that Fowler-Nembhard remains atop the Nissan Net Points leaderboard with 690.5 points to her name, with Sterling-Humphrey (539.5 points) fourth on that list.

With 355 goals to her name from 363 attempts, Fowler-Nembhard has scored over 100 goals more than Donnell Wallam (253 goals from 297 attempts), who sits second on both the goals and attempts leaderboard, while Aiken-George (214 goals from 245 attempts) occupies fourth on the attempts chart and fifth on the goals side.