Taking a page from our friends at Sounder at Heart, I polled the staff here about their picks for a Philadelphia Union Mount Rushmore.
The result was fairly predictable: Sebastien Le Toux, Alejandro Bedoya, Andre Blake and Jim Curtin as the non-player representative.
Sebastien Le Toux
It shouldn’t come as a shock that Le Toux was a unanimous selection out of the 11 people who weighed in for out staff poll.
“Le Toux was such an influential player for the expansion Union. His playing style, infectious personality, and leadership were the perfect addition to a brand new club. He was such a popular player with supporters and really helped create an original fanbase around the Union.” -Josh Shuster
The current captain of the Philadelphia Union was a close second behind Le Toux though not unanimous.
“When it comes to overall talent and leadership, few players in the team’s history are equal. The former National Team member and World Cup veteran was the first high-profile American player signed by the team and brought legitimacy to the Union.” -Eric Goldstein
Blake had plenty of competition for the final player spot on the mountain with Ray Gaddis, Brian Carroll, Danny Califf all grabbing votes. That a goalkeeper who was drafted into a team already too full with keepers (and the ridicule of the league for this) would end up being a face of the club is one of the great redemption stories in the club’s history to date.
“This list cannot be completed without Blake. He was the first ever keeper taken number one overall, and he has proven to be elite. Blake has been the best keeper the Union have ever had, and will probably carry that title for many years to come.” -Josh Shuster
Curtin has taken his lumps over the years but his job last season in a sporting director transition year leading the team to their first ever playoff victory and his history with the club as a coach in the early days of what would become the foundation for the current Development Academy makes him the obvious choice. Love him or hate him, he’s one of us and regardless of where you rate him on the sideline has been everything you could ask for in a head coach in how he carries himself off the field.
“Jim has been a staple of the Union for the last decade and the Manager since 2014. Like him or not, he is one of the influential faces of the Union.” -Josh Shuster
Ray Gaddis, Brian Carroll, Ilsinho, Danny Califf and Phang
Gaddis and Carroll both deserved to be mentioned for their longevity and commitment to the club, particularly during such lean seasons, Ilsinho is a human cheat code, Califf was an early fan favorite and don’t let anyone tell you Phang isn’t a GOAT.
“When it comes to sports, I have an enormous soft spot for players who spend their entire career with one team. I know people have very strong feelings about Ray, but his long tenure gets him a spot for me.” -Chris Bratton
“BC earns a mention for his leadership, longevity and the professionalism he brought to the club at a time when so many things about the club were less than what they needed to be for a top flight team.” -Matt Ralph
“Nobody can get the crowd buzzing like Ilsinho when he’s running down the touch line at the 60th minute when it’s time for the Union’s first sub.” -Alex Klein
“This choice is more on emotion than talent. Califf was hardly one of more skillful players to don a Union kit, but he instantly connected with the fans in the first years of the organization’s existence with his blue-collar play, physicality and attitude. It doesn’t hurt he also scored the first ever goal for the club, either. He is likely in any longtime fan’s top three favorite and most memorable players.” -Eric Goldstein
“He’s an 8-foot tall snake with a Mohawk, arms and legs.” -Alex Klein
Now it’s your turn. Who goes on you Philadelphia Union Mount Rushmore?