Ray Gaddis announcing his retirement just before training camp opened back in January may have been a bigger surprise than the fact that he is receiving a national award for “extraordinary accomplishments and service beyond the sport itself.”
The retired Philadelphia Union defender will be honored at the annual United Soccer Coaches Convention in Kansas City in January with the Jerry Yeagley Award for Exceptional Personal Achievement.
“How fitting for an Indiana favorite son to receive the Jerry Yeagley Award for Exceptional Personal Achievement,” United Soccer Coaches President Dr. Melissa Price stated in a news release. “Gaddis excelled on the field in college at West Virginia University and later for the Philadelphia Union in Major League Soccer. More impressively, he has leveraged his success and platform to benefit the Philadelphia area and back home in Indiana through meaningful philanthropy, community service and social activism.”
Yeagley is a Lebanon, Pa. native who won a national championship at West Chester University and went on to make a name for himself as the long-time head coach at Indiana University. The award is given annually to a former collegiate student-athlete for their contributions both on and off the field.
During his time with the Union, Gaddis was lauded for his leadership on the field, in the locker room and his work in the community. The Indianapolis native was drafted into MLS by the Union from West Virginia and spend his whole career playing for the blue and gold.
He was active in the community here during his time in Chester and also back home in Indianapolis and was also part of the founding of MLS’ Black Players for Change in 2020. He was honored for his work in the community by the Starfinder Foundation back in March.