Danny Califf didn't play in his return to Philadelphia.
But if it was his choice, he would have been out there.
“Are you kidding me?," Califf asked when posed the question.
On Saturday, Philadelphiaunion.com caught up with the former captain following the 1-1 draw with his new team, Toronto F.C.
“I didn't want anything else in the world than to be able to step on the field and feel the energy and be able to try and contribute,” he said.
Left out Ryan Nelsen's starting lineup, Califf occupied a bench spot on Saturday. He received a standing ovation from fans upon exiting the tunnel and jogging along the south side of the River End on his way to the Toronto technical area.
“It was amazing,” Califf said. “The only part of the fairy tale that was missing was the part on the field. It felt like home. It felt like I was coming home and it was just really, really cool.”
A Union original, Califf made 65 appearances in a little more than two seasons with the team. He was the club's first big signing and first to wear the captain's armband.
Former manager Peter Nowak traded Califf to Chivas USA in 2012. He played 19 games with the Goats before winding up in the MLS re-entry draft and finding a new home with TFC.
But the bond between between Califf and the fans in Philadelphia has hardly waned over the last year.
“The fans here have always embraced me. I've tried to do what I can to repay that love and I hope to be able to continue to do that.”
At 33 years old, Califf still has some good years ahead of him. He's focused on this season, and his new team, but he hasn't shut the door on Philadelphia in his future plans.
“As far as you can make plans in this game, I think as far as my family goes, (Philadelphia is in our plans),” he explained. “I think we'll end up here in some capacity in the future. But right now I'm focused on trying to win in Toronto and do what I can to help us win games. But I think the future is going to end up in Philadelphia.”
Contact Union writer Kevin Kinkead at firstname.lastname@example.org