Union defender Gaddis says there is much to be thankful for despite dashed playoff hopes

 

In early September, Ray Gaddis was rewarded with a new multi-year contract.

This was a no-brainer for the Philadelphia Union.

Gaddis has proved his mettle the entire season and he’s been extraordinarily consistent in every match as a lockdown defender. His ability to chase down opposing players has been an incredible sight. He hasn’t really taken much time to reflect on the deal. Maybe when the season concludes – but not now. There are still two matches to be played before it’s officially time to look ahead to the 2015 season.

“I’ve always tried to get better, whether it was a training session or a game,” Gaddis said recently. “I have to give so much credit to the club for helping me improve and get better. When I was a little kid playing, I looked at it the same way. It’s the same now. I want to be the best possible player I can be to help the club in every way I can.”

Gaddis was selected by the Union in the second round of the 2012 MLS SuperDraft – No. 35 overall from the University of West Virginia. He eventually started the last seven games that season and has steadily improved ever since.

This season, he has started 32 matches for a total of 2,871 minutes.

When you’re on the pitch that long, the coaches trust you.

“Whether it’s left back, right back, centerback, whatever the coaches need, I’m willing to do,” Gaddis said. “I feel blessed to be in this position and I’m honored to be part of this club. They drafted me and have worked with me from the beginning. I want to reward them and the great fans here who support the Union. My goal and my focus is to do everything I possibly can to assist this club.”

From his time as a rookie, Gaddis believes he’s a different player now. Only through match experience can you truly understand what it takes to compete on a consistent basis in MLS.

“I think I came here at the right time,” Gaddis said. “I’ve just worked and worked and worked. I think being patient and also working extremely hard has been important. I have to thank God for playing a huge part in this. I feel blessed to be here and I’m very excited about the future.”

One thing about Gaddis: he’s never satisfied.

Just because he was given a new contract doesn’t mean he has any plans to slow down. If anything, he’ll increase his workload.

“I don’t think you can ever be satisfied because that’s when you get into trouble,” Gaddis said. “I’m going to keep working harder than ever to improve and get better. When next season comes around, I’ll be ready. I know big things are ahead for me and for this club in the future.”

What are your thoughts on Gaddis' game this season so far? Leave a comment below. 

Contact Union writer Andy Jasner at andy.jasner@yahoo.com

Topics: 

Download the FREE MLS App

Follow the Union's scores, updates, highlights, analysis and more.