When Ray Gaddis heard the opening whistle against Montreal Saturday, he was in a familiar spot, but one not visited recently. He started at right back for the first time in the 2017 season, and the first time since July 23, 2016, which also just so happened to be against Montreal.
“My dad always said, ‘Stay ready so you won’t need to get ready,’” Gaddis said. “I approach every practice like it’s a game, and right now, that’s my mentality,”
Gaddis has displayed that mentality throughout his time with the Union. His first four years with the Union saw him play many meaningful minutes. He set his career high in 2014, when he played in every game that season, seeing the field for more than 3,050 minutes, while also setting a career mark in assists. But since then, Gaddis has had to fight for playing time, and he’s never skipped a beat.
In his six-year stint with the Union, his hard work and positivity has resulted in Gaddis becoming a leader in the locker room. He’s served as the Union’s captain in US Open Cup games, and wore the captain’s band in this most recent preseason for the Union. He has the respect of his teammates, and serves as a driving force of a working mentality on the training fields, in the weight room and locker room.
“I want to thank my teammates, because week in and week out, they keep me prepared,” Gaddis said. “I want to thank the coaching staff because they keep me prepared.”
Because of the effort Gaddis puts in week in and week out, Head Coach Jim Curtin wanted to reward him with a start at right back, and in his weekly press conference, Curtin praised Gaddis’s play against the Impact.
“It’s not easy for (Gaddis) who’s been out and who hasn’t played a full 90 minutes in a while to go through the physicality of that game,” Curtin said. “But he emptied his tank. He gave everything for the shirt, which he always does. Ray had a good performance.”
With his start, Gaddis is now fourth in games started (115) and games played (119) for the Union. It has not always been easy for Gaddis, but he’s just staying positive, knowing it's going to work out okay in the end, like it always does.
“Whenever you can play in front of the home crowd, it’s always a blessing from God,” Gaddis said. “Every opportunity is a blessing. We just have to stay positive. One result can change the momentum of the team.”