Looking back at the emotional moments in the history of the Philadelphia Union, the tears shed over three U.S. Open Cup final losses are all too real, but it was watching Sebastien Le Toux in street clothes fighting back tears that probably best represents the first decade of the club’s history.
Le Toux was honored as the first recipient of the team’s Ring of Honor on June 23, 2018 after formally retiring as a member of the team he became synonymous with the minute he completed a hat trick in their first ever home game at Lincoln Financial Field.
The Frenchman scored 50 goals and delivered 50 assists in two stints with the team from 2010-2011 and 2013-2016, but it was more than his stats that made him an obvious choice to begin the ring of honor. He embraced Philadelphia and its fans so thoroughly, giving fans across the region a star when the team was still trying to find an identity and any kind of foothold in a crowded sports market.
His trade to Vancouver in 2012 is still one of the all-time WTF moments in team history, topped perhaps only by the Rais M’Bohli debacle. Le Toux was traded to Colorado in 2016 before playing his last season with D.C. United in 2017 but trades at the end of a player’s career are much more understandable even for club legends.
“They traded me once, they traded me twice but now I’m here forever, no one can trade me from that,” Le Toux said during his induction ceremony. “I’m a part of this team and this club and I can’t be anymore proud of that.”
Le Toux has further cemented his place in club history with his involvement over the past couple years with the club and through his frequent interactions with fans. Whether it’s breaking down plays as an analyst on broadcasts, celebrating the team’s first playoff win or drinking with fans at The Larimer, Le Toux continues to be a player synonymous with the blue and gold.
Yes, he played for the Sounders, the Whitecaps, the Rapids, some team in New Jersey and D.C. United since coming to the U.S. in 2007, but as those tears at his Ring of Honor ceremony illustrated better than any words could, he is the Philadelphia Union.