Ray Gaddis shockingly retired this past Thursday after nine seasons in Philadelphia. At 31 years old the right-back has played for the Union since he was drafted 35th overall in the 2012 MLS Superdraft clocking 18,702 regular-season minutes and adding 286 more for post-season play.
Ray Gaddis shockingly retires
What is so unique about Gaddis’ situation is two-fold. For starters, as stated before, he is only 31 years old. He probably has more in the tank physically, but after helping the team to the Supporters Shield as well as his passion for social justice, retiring now gives him a chance at a young age to enjoy what he’s accomplished on the field before serious injuries and general wear and tear took a toll, and he can shift his focus fully to those social justice initiatives. He also made a statement saying that “this is the right time to tend to some things on the home front” so his reason for retirement is clearly multifaceted. The other reason his situation is unique is that he only ever played for the Union.
A rarity into today’s game, Ray played 9 seasons with the boys in blue mostly at right-back. He filled in at times when necessary, at left-back. He was a true blue-collar player working hard for the team without any thought of the recognition he would receive. Ray wanted to win and help his team in any way he could to achieve their collective goals. He may not have been the most talented player we’ve ever seen come through this club, but he will be remembered for who he was and what he helped the Philadelphia Union accomplish in his tenure.
Where do the Union go from here?
The retirement leaves the squad a little light at the right-back position. They have a returner who played a decent amount last season in Mbaizo. Also, a newcomer homegrown in Nathan Harriel. Having only two not extremely experienced players at a position is not an ideal situation. With the transfer window still open, I would not be surprised if Ernst decided to bring in a veteran guy at the position. Not only for depth but to replace the massive locker room loss that Gaddis was as well.
It will also be interesting to see how Jim Curtin deals with rotating the two right-backs mentioned before. At first glance based on last year, Mbaizo should be the guy. But as soccer tends to go, you never know what Harriel will be. He could come in and redefine the position combining what Ray brought and what Mbaizo currently brings together into a complete right back.
Needless to say, Ray Gaddis will be missed greatly both on the field and in the community. We here at PSN wish him nothing but the best moving forward and on behalf of the city of Philadelphia, there is always a place for Ray here. #DoopForever
Be sure to come back to Philly Sports Network for more Philadelphia Union and other soccer content!
Follow our Union team on Twitter:
Doop on Union fans!
Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union