Gabriel Farfan: I asked for a trade

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Gabriel Farfan’s trade last week to Chivas USA didn’t surprise the 24-year-old former Philadelphia Union player.

“I kind of knew I was on the trading block,” Farfan said Saturday in an interview with the Philly Soccer Page. “I actually asked for a trade. I wanted a chance to play in midfield.”

Farfan said he had asked Union manager John Hackworth after last season to play primarily in midfield, as opposed to left back, where he had started regularly for the Union for the previous year and a half. This wasn’t a new request from Farfan. He and Hackworth had talked about it several other times, Farfan said.

“I still didn’t feel too comfortable on the back line,” Farfan said. “I obviously wanted my career to be in the midfield.”

This time, Hackworth acceded to Farfan’s request and began the season with Raymon Gaddis as his starting left back. Farfan started at left midfield that day, with his brother, Michael, and Keon Daniel partnering in an attacking trio.

Danny Cruz subsequently nudged Gabriel Farfan out of the starting lineup, however. Farfan wouldn’t get another start until May 11 against Chicago, when he started at left back due to Sheanon Williams’ suspension. (Gaddis moved to right back.)

That was Farfan’s last game with the Union.

Farfan said he asked for a trade for several reasons. First, there was the lack of playing time and the fact that he saw his career not at left back but in midfield, where Hackworth recently indicated Farfan was competing against his brother for playing time.

“Obviously, any player’s looking for playing time,” Farfan said. “Any time you perform well and you’re not getting consistent playing time, it’s a bit frustrating.”

Separately, Farfan said he would like to play professionally in Mexico some day, and he thought Chivas USA would help him achieve that, with its Mexican coach and partnership with Mexican club Chivas de Guadalajara. Farfan, who is fluent in Spanish, spent 2010 playing with Club America in Mexico but only broke through with the senior team for friendly matches before leaving to join Philadelphia in 2011. He also played for Chivas USA’s youth team while still an amateur.

The clincher was probably the chance to play for Chivas USA’s manager, José Luis Sanchéz Solá, also known as “Chelís,” a previously successful coach with Puebla in Mexico who had made public his desire to acquire Farfan and his brother.

“He’s had a ton of experience in Mexico,” Farfan said of Chelis. “I wanted to play under him. I wanted to get the sense of what it would be like to be in a locker room in Mexico.”

For Farfan’s part, he had nothing but good words for the Union and Hackworth, who he called “a great coach and an awesome guy.” He described the Union locker room as one in which “everyone’s close. We’re all like brothers.”

“It’s a class organization,” Farfan said of the Union. “I had an amazing time there. Those two and a half years there were unreal. The fans were the greatest.”

While he has been separated from his twin brother, he has also reunited with midfielder Eric Avila, a childhood friend who grew up with the Farfans in San Diego.

“He’s like a brother to me and Michael,” Farfan said. “We’re like triplets.”

Farfan’s first game with Chivas didn’t go well for his team, but Farfan entered the match as a halftime sub. He completed 24 of 25 passes on the night and lost possession just twice.

He will return to PPL Park on July 12, when Chivas USA visit the Union.


  1. Well I guess we can stop dropping nukes on Hack over this trade huh.

    • Jeremy Lane says:

      I guess so. Good for Gabe, in the end, for going after what he wants, career-wise. I wish he was still here, of course, and he should have been ahead of both Keon and Cruz for starts, but such is life, I suppose.

    • We never should have, considering the haul Hackworth got.

      Sometimes we get too caught up in who the player is.

      There’s a reason virtually every MLS analyst has said we got a steal.

      • Exactly. It’s not like Chivas fleeced the Union.
        While Garfan will be missed, that’s quite a haul for a guy who wasn’t an every day starter.

      • Dan Walsh says:

        Or you could recognize that he never would have asked for the trade had he been starting over Keon or Cruz.

        Unless you know definitively how much allocation money the Union got, you simply can’t evaluate the trade accurately. It’s the same as always in MLS.

        That is, unless you think draft picks are valuable. MLS draft picks are not the same as draft picks in other sports. They’re a total crapshoot. I would take a young, proven, low paid player over a draft pick almost any day, even a top 5 pick, as this is likely to be.

        Still, it will probably work out OK for each team.

      • I have said this before but I’ll say it again. I don’t expect anything to come of this trade. The money I suspect is spent on paying down salaries and a first round draft pick will most likely not be better than Garfan (and if you throw in the fact we are probably gonna lose Marfan over this) and even If they are it puts us back 2 years in development.

        the only way I can be happy with this deal is if they somehow package this first round draft pick into an actual, live, human Left Back. We have enough spare parts to cobble together a midfield but it is hard to take this team seriously until we have a Left Back.

      • Section 114 says:

        The problem is NOT trading Garfan. Or Jordan Harvey.
        The problem is the front office’s persistent belief that they don’t need a left back. We are now 22 months and four transfer windows since we last had a left back on the roster that we had any reason to believe could play the position. It was inexcusable to deal Harvey without finding cover in 2011, and should have been addressed in either of the past two offseasons. Except Damani Richards. Which is like GOP leadership saying “Benghazi” — no matter how often you repeat it, it never becomes a good idea.

    • The one flaw in that is no matter what the reasons are people still keep asking for trades. No matter if it is Chandler Hoffman, Frddy Adu, Baky Soumare, or Gabriel Farfan and probably even more there has to be something slightly toxic about the culture here if people keep asking to leave. There is too much smoke not to investigate fire.

      • John O'Donnell Jr. says:

        Maybe, but does it happen with other teams as well? We follow the Union, I see other teams doing the same thing. (KC)

      • Players wanting to move on for whatever reason is natural. But you would have to show some hard evidence that we aren’t above average.

      • Great One says:

        I agree here, these are too many players.

      • Not one player has said the atmosphere is toxic.Thats the sign. Also those players that want a trade get one if thats the right deal for both parties. Its actually a sign of a good team with good players if those who can’t break into the starting line-up ask for trades. It means they are good enough to start somewhere else. see wayne rooney and fernando torres.
        Now I will give you that this is all incumbent on them being left out for lack of skill not stupidity from a managerial standpoint.
        Most players who see a guy come and go and leave in a similiar or better position than they started in won’t balk at that situation. We are not seen as the last stop in your career, yet.

      • I vaguely recall a player who requested a trade _TO_ the Union … his name escapes me, though. Drexel alum. Used to play for RBNY and Seattle. Somebody help me out here?

  2. I miss him already. Always a smile on his face. Tough. Was a capable replacement as a left back. I am sad that he wanted to leave but this sounds like a pretty sensible career decision for a pro athlete to make! Best of luck to him at that shitshow of a team.

  3. Andy Muenz says:

    It will be interesting to see what kind of reception he receives when he comes to Philly with Chivas. Unless Backy gets traded somewhere other than Chicago, Garfan will be the first visiting player to return after asking for a trade away from Philly.

  4. WilkersonMcLaser says:

    PSP — Are you guys going to do a new piece on the Keon enigma? I’m dying to learn more about 1) what’s up with this guy and 2) why and how he keeps getting minutes. Like I’ve said elsewhere, I appreciate the things he’s done for the club in the past and I’m willing to give him some leeway for that, but there’s no question he shouldn’t be taking better players’ minutes, let alone starting, at this point.

    • Well I think part of Keons minutes came from asking for a trade. Once that happens I think Union policy is to cut you off unless an emergency makes them do otherwise

    • Dan Walsh says:

      I don’t know. It’s beating a dead horse, to an extent. The whole Keon thing is bizarre. He’s a good player. It’s hard to explain his performance. Maybe he’s just a complimentary piece, and that’s the problem. You can’t build your attack around him. He stabilizes. He doesn’t push. He’s the guy you bring in to kill a game. Or something. I honestly don’t know.

    • Hasn’t his enigmaticness been a known issue for a while? He’s had similar problems with the T&T national team — when he’s on, he’s really good, but when he’s not he (sometimes literally) can’t be found. I guess Hackworth has been trying a new strategy to reach him, by having him play through his slump. I don’t think it’s working.

  5. Gabriel was a great guy, but the first round draft pick of a crappy team is fairly valuable for a guy who was a borderline starter and by no means a start. I will enjoy rooting for Chivas to sink like a rock.

  6. Steve l. says:

    I understand why he asked. But all the people who say “look we got a lot for a borderline starter” I say he was only a borderline starter because of questionable lineup decisions, and we don’t know if we really got a great deal for him. I’m not trying to say he is a great player, but he is a good player and plays a position we desperately need and have no real replacement( we have some serviceable options for short term, but no solutions), and we traded him away for a player who we don’t know yet and money we don’t know the amount of. I hope the best for him and will clap for him at the begining of the game when he comes back, and then wil boo him for the next 90 minutes.

  7. Jim Presti says:

    I’m happy that Gabe is playing where we wants and [hopefully] the position he wants. It’s not like the Union gave him up for free or sent him somewhere in conference. We’ll see him [maybe] once a year.
    There was a comment somewhere above that we’ll lose Mike over this trade. I really doubt that. Yes, they are brothers, but they’re also grown men and professionals. Given that Gabe also asked to be traded, I highly doubt there are familial bad feelings. Mike and Gabe, though twins, can’t be expected to be joined at the hip. This is coming from a guy with 5 brothers. Eventually you grow up, grow apart, and establish yourselves individually.
    good luck to Gabe.

  8. Philly Cheese says:

    Gabe was at $51k in guarantee comp, while Marian at $136 K. I wonder if Gabe thought comp increases were not going to come with limited playing time and no encouragement in his preferred midfield slot. If brothers roomed together, Marfan needs someone to,share rent.

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