Danny Califf's tenure with the Philadelphia Union was filled with ups and downs felt by both the team, the fans and the player himself. From being named captain to losing his captaincy to regaining his captaincy, Califf was a polarizing player on the field, but he was beloved off of it by the fans.
The center back's connection with supporters led to an outcry when he was dealt to Chivas USA in exchange for Michael Lahoud, and the very close nature of the relationship between fans and players hasn't fully healed from Califf's departure.
In the aftermath of the trade, one that the former national team defender was not in favor of, Califf wrote an email about his feelings in regard to leaving Philadelphia. One of the few people he shared the details of the email with sent the Brotherly Game the letter and the following is the text of it.
"When you play this game as long as I have, and in as many places as I have, you begin to value more and more the relationships you make along the way. These include relationships with the boys in locker room, with the coaching and medical staff, with the city, and with the fans who support you on and off the field.
Winning of course is important for any professional team. But relationships built, and ABUSED, linger much longer than the sweetness of a victory, or the bitterness of a defeat.
This has been especially true for me in the past 2.5 years here in Philadelphia. If my Family and I had wanted to go back to California, we would have done so when we decided to come back to the States from Denmark. We chose Philly not only for me to get in on the ground floor of something really special in the Union Organization, but it was also another adventure for our family. What happened was that 2 California kids and their kids fell in love, and made plans to stay when my career was over. Incredible!!
We have been embraced here, both by the fans in and out of an amazingly beautiful PPL park. More importantly by families in our neighborhood and beyond, Kids in our kids schools, and by a city that can at times seem intimidating. Philly always takes care of it own, but they also took care of us. We loved and have felt loved!
I am not a perfect soccer player on the field, nor am I a perfect person in everyday life, but I give all of myself in both arenas to try and succeed. I felt here, more than anywhere, that that has been truly, and genuinely appreciated. For that, all I can really say is how Lucky we are. So a BIG THANK YOU!!
As my family and I embark on this next adventure, people who know me, and us, know how we will embrace it. It will be with all of our hearts.
But this town and its people are now a part of our soul, the fabric of who we are.
- Danny Califf "
When asked for comment on Califf's letter, the Union said, "Danny was a valued member of the organization and we appreciate all of the contributions he made while a part of it."