Union Veteran Defender Announces Retirement from MLS
Philadelphia Union veteran defender Ray Gaddis has announced his retirement from the MLS. Gaddis was drafted by the Union in 2012 and ended up playing nine seasons with the club. He went on to become the all-time club leader in appearances, starts, and minutes played. In his nine seasons with the Union, Gaddis played in 221 regular season matches and started in 211 of them. Gaddis set multiple records in games played, games started, minutes played for the Union. He is also tied for most matches played in a single season at 34 games. Gaddis helped lead the team to their first-ever playoff victory in 2019 in a historic 4-3 comeback at home. Gaddis ended his professional career on a great note by bringing home the Supporters’ Shield in 2020, which was the club’s first-ever trophy. Before playing for the Union, he was an All-American in both high school and in college at West Virginia University.
Gaddis was just as great on the field as he was off the field. Over the past six years Gaddis, worked with local restaurants to deliver meals to the homeless in Philadelphia. Back in his hometown of Indianapolis Gaddis partnered with the US Soccer Foundation to build multiple mini-pitches across the country. Gaddis’s most recent off-the-field contributions were becoming a founding member and executive board member of MLS’ Black Players for Change. This past fall, he was awarded the 2020 Jerry Yeagley Award for Exceptional Personal Achievement, an award voted by the United Soccer Coaches. Gaddis was an exceptional player and will not be forgotten for his contributions on and off the field.
Here is a message from Ray Gaddis looking back at his time with the Philadelphia Union:
“I first and foremost want to thank God for allowing me to have the career I’ve had. I’m truly blessed to have played professionally for nine seasons and for the experiences, friendships, and unique moments that have come with it,” said Gaddis. “Over the course of my career, fans have become family, coaches have become life-long mentors, and my teammates have become brothers. I’d like to thank the Philadelphia Union owners, past and present coaches and teammates, and the Union staff. I also want to give a special thank you to my family, to my lovely wife Violet, and to my parents Ricky and Katrina Gaddis, whom without this journey simply would not have been possible. I will miss this organization and my team very much, but I am able to retire knowing I left everything on the pitch and proud of what we have accomplished together. I very much look forward to what the future holds, and, in my heart, I will be forever Philly.”
Here are some remarks from Union Owner Jay Sugarman, Sporting Director Ernst Tanner, and Head Coach Jim Curtin:
“I want to thank Ray for all he has done for this club both on and off the pitch,” said Philadelphia Union Principal Owner Jay Sugarman. “To have played for one organization for the entirety of his career speaks volumes not only to his skill but to his commitment and loyalty to the team. His work off the field has been equally meaningful and his contributions long-lasting. We are very proud of Ray and his achievements over his nine professional seasons and wish him all the best in the future.”
“It has been an honor to watch Ray thrive since I’ve arrived. He is a tireless worker who has an incredible heart and attitude toward the game and the community,” said Union Sporting Director Ernst Tanner. “He is a leader in every sense of the word, giving our young players, especially our right-backs, a role model and example as to what to strive for. His presence will be missed but he has made an imprint on the fabric of our club. We wish Ray well as he begins a new chapter.”
“I’ve had the pleasure of coaching Ray since he was drafted in 2012,” said Head Coach Jim Curtin. “Ray is an incredibly special player and has been an important part of our locker room. He exemplifies what a role model should be on and off the field. He has been with this team through every up and down, his belief in this team and organization never wavering. He gave everything he had every time he stepped on the field and his passion and dedication will be missed. It has been an honor to have been able to coach him his entire professional career and know he will be successful in his future endeavors.”
Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union