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Season Review: Raymon Gaddis

Photo: Earl Gardner

Editor’s note: At the end of the first two Philadelphia Union seasons, we posted a series of end of the season reviews of every Union player. Over the next several weeks, PSP continues with a review of the 2012 season.

“This is Gaddis Country.” Being honored by the Sons of Ben with a large banner in River End means you’ve made quite the impression on the Philadelphia Union’s fiercest fans. Making that impression during your rookie season is even more impressive. Raymon Gaddis, the humble first year defender from West Virginia University, became a favorite of the Union faithful with his hustle, consistent play and his gracious manner.

Gaddis joined the Union when he was selected with the 35th pick in the 2012 Major League Soccer SuperDraft. The second round draft pick enjoyed a successful college career at West Virginia, picking up numerous accolades during his time at Morgantown. Perhaps more importantly, Gaddis spent two summers with Philadelphia’s Premier Development League partner Reading United AC. Under the watchful eye of Union Reserve Team Coach Brendan Burke, the Union were able to track Gaddis’ progress. The two summers at Reading also allowed the Union to begin to develop an understanding of Ray’s physical and mental make-up.

High Point

It’s difficult to single out just one high point in a rookie campaign that was filled with many. An argument could be made for his MLS debut versus Columbus on April 14th. With captain Danny Califf a late scratch because of a cranky hamstring, Gaddis was a thrust into the starting XI at right back, with Sheanon Williams sliding over to cover for the injured captain. The rookie put in a solid performance, shutting down the Crew’s veteran midfielder Eddie Gaven, while raiding forward in an effort to jumpstart the Union attack.

A man of the match performance in the season finale against the Energy Drinks merits discussion. Gaddis again turned in a lockdown performance, never backing down from the likes of talented veterans Joel Lindpere, Tim Cahill and Heath Pearce. Those 90 minutes versus New York on the season’s final day were Ray’s finest in a Union kit.

Low Point 

The Union’s May 26th match at Toronto was a forgettable day for the rookie defender. Unable to cope with fellow speedster Joao Plata, Gaddis collected an early yellow card in the 11th minute with a clumsy challenge on the Toronto forward. The former West Virginia standout was subbed out of the match in the 37th minute and headed straight to the locker room, possibly due to illness.

Strengths

Speed. Work ethic. Toughness. Ray has combined these traits to quickly become a favorite of the Union’s fanbase.

You cannot teach speed. It’s not a secret that Gaddis is ridiculously fast, possibly one of the fastest players in the league. Case in point, during the Mother’s Day matchup against the Red Bulls Gaddis raced the length of the field in the waning minutes of the match to deny noted speedster Dane Richards an empty net opportunity that would’ve killed off the match. The second round pick often turns on his jets when he joins the Union attack as he blazes down the opposition’s flanks.

Gaddis’ work ethic is tremendous and his coaches are quick to heap praise on the rookie. During the early part of the season, Gaddis worked with Coach Hackworth after training sessions to improve on his play on the left side of the pitch. On the pitch, the former Mountaineer has few peers in the hustle department. From the opening kickoff to the final whistle, Ray relies upon his athleticism and will not be outworked by an opponent.

Brendan Burke says of the Reading United alum, “He possesses some of the best workrate, focus and athleticism on the team, making him a very tough 1 v 1 defender.  Ray’s matured significantly through the season and will continue to because of his level of focus.”

It also goes without saying that no one can rock the bow tie like Ray Gaddis.

Weaknesses

Maintaining focus for 90 minutes is a challenge for any first year player and Gaddis is no exception. The rookie was caught by the opposition on several occasions throughout the season. Gaddis has been using the offseason to analyze match film in an effort to learn from this season’s errors and become a better player.

Coach Burke also offered, “Ray has to continue to work on the quality of service from different areas in the attacking half and some of his starting positions within the back four when defending off the ball.”

Outlook

The Union found one of the steals of the 2012 MLS SuperDraft when they selected Raymon Gaddis with the 35th pick. No doubt that the two summers the Ray spent with Reading United gave the Union technical staff the confidence to select a player who was not even invited to the MLS Draft Combine.

Gaddis will continue to push incumbent right back Sheanon Williams and his rapid improvement during the 2012 campaign give the Union depth should injury or transfer shuffle the back line.

Brendan Burke’s analysis of Ray’s future with the Union speaks volumes. “I see Ray taking on a very important and increased role within the first team next season.”

Stat chart legend:
POS: Position; GP: Games Played; GS: Games Started; MINS: Minutes; PA: Passes Attempted; PC: Passes Completed; P%: Passing Accuracy Percentage; G: Goals; A: Assists; SOG: Shots on Goal; SOG/S%: Percentage of Shots that are on Goal; G/SOG%: Percentage of Shots on Goal Converted; SC%: Scoring Percentage; G/90min: Goals per 90 minutes; Hm G: Home Goals; Rd G: Road Goals; FC: Fouls Committed; FS: Fouls Suffered; YC: Yellow Cards; RC: Red Cards

4 Comments

  1. What a player to have. He’s a real bright spot.

  2. And grossly underpaid.

  3. He’ll be able to look back on 2012 and smile, not something that could be said of many other players, or supporters. I think he defends fairly well and his touch is not bad. Congrats on a good season, Raymon. The future is bright.

  4. LMAO ! I just found a error in your website! Check if plugins is managed right!

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