Earlier this summer, Brotherly Game, reported on a potential deal that would have sent Danny Califf and Stefan Frei to the Philadelphia Union as part of a three team deal. That potential move has since been confirmed but a report on The Philly Soccer Page added more details.
It seems that the Union were interested in bringing back Califf at a reasonable price but were forced to back out of the three team deal that would have included the Chicago Fire. According to the report out of Philadelphia the Union backed out of the deal because they felt Toronto FC were trying to dump salary on them by adding Stefan Frei and Ashtone Morgan to the deal. Chief Executive Nick Sakiewicz is quoted as saying the following about the deal in the report:
"It was like we were solving Toronto's (salary budget) problem more than anything," Sakiewicz said. "Why would we want Frei and Morgan? We have a good goalkeeper and better defenders. Toronto was trying to solve a problem. It's not our problem. It's theirs."
Many Toronto FC fans will be glad that this trade did not wind up going through as trading Morgan would have been greeted with a lot of discontent. The deal would have made sense since it would allow TFC to open up a big chunk of cap space by getting Frei and Califf off the books but throwing in Morgan would make little sense from a financial perspective since he is not one of the many players that TFC are currently over-paying for.
The trade is not the only insight the report offers on Califf's time at Toronto FC. It indicates that even though Califf joined the club after Kevin Payne had been hired his signing was handled by the previous regime of Earl Cochrane and Paul Mariner.
"I was signed by Paul Mariner," Califf said. "It was more Paul Mariner and Earl Cochrane. Then Ryan and Kevin came in."
It talks about how Califf worked to get fit during the pre-season and got off to a good start when the season opened but it was a stomach virus that cost him his place in the starting lineup which he never managed to get back despite the inconsistent play of other defenders.
Then there is the talk of the trade. Toronto seemed willing to send Califf back to Philadelphia which was the only place the defender was interested in going. Sending Califf back the Philly would have been in the best interest of both parties even if the club had to eat a chunk of his salary like they have had to do in the past with players like Julian de Guzman.
"I said, ‘Look, I'm not going to move my family around the country for 18 months,'" Califf said. "I said we're Philly or bust. And (Cochrane) made an amazing deal. I was going to Philly on a minimum salary."
The problem is that those trade talks fell through as the two sides could not work out a deal that was in the best interest of both clubs. After that Califf was running out of options since he was not open to heading to yet another new club and uprooting his family once more.
It looks like the only way Califf could get his wish was by retiring from professional soccer. That is what he did and now his family has bought a home in Philadelphia not far from PPL Park. It looks like that is where he wanted to settle down but it is clear that this was not the way he was hoping to do so.
Take the time to read the full report and you will get the sense that Califf was left with very few options despite feeling like he still has games left in him. It has the same tone as his letter to the fans where you can sense a begrudging attitude towards having to retire.
The Philly Soccer Page's story on Califf certainly does not paint Toronto FC in a good light for how they handled Califf during his time with the club. It is not the first time such a story has come out about the club but hopefully a culture change around MLSE is on the way that will help ensure that players like Califf don't get treated so poorly in the future.