Yesterday it was made public that Philadelphia Union legend, defender Ray Gaddis came out of retirement to sign with FC Cincinnati on a deal for the 2023 season, with an option to extend to 2024.
Gaddis is considered a legend in the Philadelphia Union due to the fact that he is the team's all-time leader in appearances.
The player records 225 appearances, or more than 19,000 minutes on the field, placing him as the all-time list leader for the Union.
Gaddis announced his retirement prior to the 2021 season for family reasons.
However, yesterday afternoon the Orange and Blue announced that the player had decided to return to the field after announcing his retirement last year to attend to family problems.
The defender, born in Indianapolis, Indiana, was also involved in other activities, such as philanthropic and community activities, to help the people of the community where he was born.
Why is Ray Gaddis considered a Union legend?
In addition to his monstrous number of appearances in a Union jersey, Gaddis was the 35th overall pick in the 2012 MLS SuperDraft, and recorded 10 assists in his nine seasons with the club.
The player also retired from the field only after winning the Supporter's Shield for the Philadelphia Union.
On the defender's arrival to his new team, FC Cincinnati General Manager Chris Albright said, "When Ray stepped away from soccer a year ago, he was arguably playing at the highest level of his career."
"He is a shutdown defender with the ability to play both outside back positions. His character and leadership are second to none, and he will be an excellent addition to the group," the executive concluded.
Raymond "Ray" Gaddis is a legend on and off the field
For example, he was a founding member of MLS' Black Players for Change in 2020 and is a key member of the Black Players Coalition.
In 2021, he helped inaugurate a mini-field at Oscar Charleston Park in his native Indianapolis.
He did this work to remove barriers and provide a safe place to play.
The mini-field features colorful murals celebrating the contributions of African-American pioneers to the United States.
So for his actions on the court and his altruistic works, we are talking about a true legend on and off the courts.
Ray Gaddis was able to sign with his new team, as a free agent, as the Union reserved his contract rights for 2021.