Ray Gaddis shockingly announced his retirement at the end of last week. After nine seasons in Philadelphia, Gaddis saw the club move from its early years to its recent successes. It’s rare to see a player start, play and end their entire career on one team. When that happens, the player must leave a legacy of being hardworking, show versatility, and have success. This legacy makes Ray Gaddis a Union legend!
Gaddis a Union legend
When you think of Ray Gaddis, you may not think of him as the most important player on the pitch. However, you cannot deny that Ray was always working hard, and went where he was needed to help the team. His longevity showcased his importance to the Union during his nine-year career.
Nine years in Philly
Ray was a top choice player for three different coaches while with the Union. This is almost unheard of. Coaches usually like to have “their guys” when they come in. This helps solidify their style of play or their tenure. Gaddis proved that through his hard work and versatility he was able to be that guy for three different coaches. Whether it was as a starter or on the bench, he showed his worth. What was even crazier than being the guy for three coaches was outlasting different sporting directors.
Ray Gaddis stayed with the Union through some difficult transition times. He was there for the end of the Nick Sakiewicz era, for all of the Earnie Stewart era and for the success that came from the beginning of the current Ernst Tanner era. Ray was seen as irreplaceable by coaches and sporting directors alike. This coupled with his hard work and versatility, led to him finishing his career while leading the Union franchise in some major categories.
When you are a part of a club for nine seasons, you can find yourself among the top of leaderboards. This is the case for Gaddis as he ends his career. He holds franchise records for minutes played, matches played, matches started, and is the only player in Union history to record an assist in seven straight seasons. Gaddis has the accolades of a long-tenured player who was able to make himself irreplaceable on the pitch.
Gaddis made his trade as a shutdown defender at either right-back or left-back. During his tenure, there were multiple times where another right-back was on the roster and got the nod over Ray. Did Gaddis complain? No! He put his head down and worked and made himself the best option at left-back. He started matches at left-back over the left-backs on the Union’s roster. That versatility and work ethic is the main reason Gaddis holds the records he does. While those accolades are nice, winning is better!
Going out on Top
In 2019, Ray Gaddis started at right-back and helped the Union win their first-ever playoff game. In 2020, Ray Gaddis started at right-back and helped the Union win their first-ever trophy. Winning the 2020 Supporters Shield is a fitting way for Ray Gaddis to go out. His words on that night still ring in Union fan’s ears “Good things happen in Philadelphia.” They truly did for Gaddis. He was beloved by his teammates and fans alike. Now the conversation shifts to will this legacy be enough to enshrine him in the Union’s Ring of Honor.
As of right now, the only player to be in the Ring of Honor is Sebastien Le Toux. Gaddis has many more accolades than Le Toux but wasn’t as flashy on the stat sheet. So could Gaddis’s name be added next to Le Toux’s? Right now it seems like it should be. The all-time leader in minutes played, matches played and matches started should be honored by the club.
All of the longevity, accolades and success make Gaddis a Union Legend. We at Philly Sports Network wish him well in retirement!
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Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union