It was like he never left.
If he has his druthers, he won’t be leaving anytime soon.
Sebastien Le Toux is back with the Philadelphia Union and he couldn’t be happier.
“It’s so great to be here training with the guys again, playing for this club that I love,” Le Toux said after a recent training session. “This franchise, these fans are the greatest. Now that I’m back, I’m going to do everything that I can to help this club win.”
The hardest part for Le Toux was the uncertainty. He was traded to Vancouver last season and then traded again to New York.
In the offseason, Le Toux received a phone call from his agent and former Union midfielder Stefani Miglioranzi. The Union had acquired Le Toux from the Red Bulls that sent allocation money and Costa Rican forward Josue Martinez to New York.
“It was tough being traded and going to two other clubs when your heart was really here with the Union,” Le Toux said. “I was professional, obviously. When the time came and the opportunity presented itself, well, it was am easy decision to come back to the Union. It’s like being home again. I am proud to wear this jersey and to be playing here again in front of these great fans.”
Le Toux was originally acquired by the Union as the fourth overall pick from Seattle Sounders FC in the 2009 MLS Expansion Draft. In his two seasons in Philadelphia, he led Philadelphia in goals in back-to-back seasons.
In 62 total appearances (28 in 2010, 34 in 2011), he is the Union’s all-time leading goal scorer with 25 goals and 20 assists, and is the only player to score a playoff goal in the first leg of the ‘11 Eastern Conference semifinals against Houston.
In addition, Le Toux earned MLS’ Individual Fair Play award in consecutive seasons, going three straight years without a card.
Le Toux’s ability to go all out up top as a forward was a huge reason to was stoked to return to the Union.
“I’m an offensive player, so usually when you see an offensive player, you are free,” Le Toux said. “Some people just leave themselves on one side because they like it, but it’s not what I like. I like to kind of be free, and when you’re in a different position or spread out, you can start in a wide position but as play goes, you can move. It depends on where the action goes, how I fit with the guys depending on the movement.
“I’m just hoping to be free than just taking one side and not moving because it’s not me. If I’m not moving, it means there’s something wrong. I like that the staff here allows me to be free and to do what I do best. I make all the runs, but it’s just as important to do it within the structure of the game plan.”
Having a veteran standout such as the 28-year-old Frenchman back with the Union is invaluable, especially for the younger players.
Watching Le Toux train would be beneficial to any player, let alone a young player.
Follow: Sebastien Le Toux on Twitter
“Seba is the type of player anyone would want to be like,” said second-year forward Chandler Hoffman. “He does everything the right way from training to watching film to playing in the games. He works so hard and never gives up on any play. It’s something to see and I know for me, it’s something I’ve noticed and tried to emulate.”
That work ethic will be on display in less than three weeks against Sporting Kansas City March 2 in the regular season opener at PPL Park.
“I will be so happy to see everyone in the stands when we play Sporting,” Le Toux said. “More than that, I’m happy to be back playing with this club and it will be the first step in what we hope will be a great season. I am truly excited to get started.”
Contact Union writer Andy Jasner at firstname.lastname@example.org