On Wednesday afternoon, FC Cincinnati announced the signing of a Philadelphia Union legend. Ray Gaddis retired from playing soccer after helping the Philadelphia Union win the supporters shield. The player noted that he had to attend to family matters closer to his home in the midwest about a year ago. Gaddis helped Philly come full circle, bringing a club from its infancy to its first trophy. He hung up the cleats just before the 2021 season, but now is coming out of retirement to play for the Philadelphia Union of the midwest.
Gaddis is coming out of retirement
FC Cincinnati really is becoming the Union of the midwest. Their GM, Chris Albright, and head coach, (a former assistant with the Union) Pat Noonan, were both a part of the Union in 2021. They are building a roster that is eerily similar to a Union one. right back Alvas Powell was signed as a free agent not too long ago. He was a big part of why the Union made the eastern conference finals in 2021. Now, Gaddis comes out of retirement to add to this list of former Union members to move to Cincinnati.
Gaddis is signed for 2022, 2023, and there’s a club option for the 2024 season. This is a long contract for a player coming out of retirement to help build a club culture. Gaddis’ veteran leadership and defensive prowess could help out a team that’s finished last in the overall standings in all three of their seasons in MLS. While Gaddis is a great defender, this move is puzzling in the makeup of this Cincinnati team.
Does this move make any sense on the field?
Ray Gaddis was allowed to sign with Cincinnati as a free agent, as the Union held his contract right for 2021. His addition is one that is a bit puzzling. Cincy has also added Alvas Powell, who played lights out for the Union in the playoffs and in spurts during the regular season. Powell deserves a shot to win a starting spot on a team, and he signed in Cincinnati with the hope to do just that. Enter Ray Gaddis, and it mucks things up a bit in terms of what Cincinnati wants to do.
Powell is a bulldozing right back that can play up and down the right-wing. Gaddis is a lockdown outside back with little-to-no offensive output. Who do you start if you Pat Noonan? Their options at right back are hardly the staple that will fix their broken defense, but I guess it’s a start for what Albright and Noonan are planning for the Cincy rebuild.
Having both Gaddis and Powell doesn’t seem to do much for Cincinnati other than complicate who will be penciled in as the starter at right back. But when Gaddis explained why he chose to come out of retirement to play for Cincy things started to make more sense.
The chance to rep where he’s from
Pat Brennen of Cincinnati.com had the chance to speak with Gaddis about his decision to return to playing professional soccer, and why he chose Cincinnati. Gaddis spoke about how he, Albright, and Noonan were having conversations about what the GM and coach were trying to build in Cincinnati. They wanted to bring a lot of what Gaddis was a part of with the Union to FCC.
Gaddis spoke of his ambitions to get into front office work, but that eventually, the conversations turned to Gaddis wanting the chance to represent the region he’s from the midwest. Ray is proudly from Indianapolis and is quick to rep the midwest any chance he has. That thought popped into his head and is the reason he’s deciding to lace up the boots again, but this time for Cincinnati.
While this move may have been surprising for Union fans, some of whom wanted to see Gaddis’ name in the ring of honor, it is something that Gaddis chose to do to represent where he’s from. This should in no way tarnish what Ray did with Philly. He was a solid player who was there for the bad time and the good. Now he wants to embrace the same challenge that Albright and Noonan and a few other Union players have decided to take on.
We’ll be looking for Cincy’s number 28 (honestly if he doesn’t wear 28, shame on Cincy) when the Union and FCC face off this season (June 18 & Aug. 6). Gaddis will make his return to Subaru Park on June 18, and I’m sure he’ll be treated with elongated applause from the fans before his new team gets torched by his former one!
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Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union