TRADED TO CHIVAS USA, CAPTAIN CALIFF SAYS HE'S "SAD TO LEAVE" UNION
“I've been going minute-to-minute here," he said. "It's been crazy."
The Union traded Califf, their captain and starting centerback, to Chivas USA Thursday for midfielder Michael Lahoud and allocation money.
Here's, in question-and-answer format, my conversation with Califf:
What was your initial reaction to the trade?
“I was a little bit dumbfounded, I think. I guess these things happen all the time. To his credit, he came and told me or whatever. I was a little bit shocked that it was discussed because that meant it was being entertained."
Being that you're one of the Union Originals, any thought on how the Union will move on without your leadership?
“I think the team's going to move on. They'll find somebody else to step up and do that. I think team's find ways to do that. I'm obviously, my family and I are really sad to leave. We put down roots. Regardless of the other stuff, I understand it's professional sports, but I'm sad to leave an area where we really felt comfortable and I really enjoyed playing."
Was there any contesting a trade?
“There's maybe two players in the league who have no-trade clauses. Players don't have a choice."
How did this whole thing go down?
“(Union manager Peter Nowak) came and said they had offers from Toronto and Chivas. I didn't even know what to say. I couldn't say anything. I called Peter back later and said, 'Please, if you're going to make this trade, please don't send me to Toronto. If you have to make this trade, please don't let it be to Toronto.'
“When you're presented with a choice to go to Chivas or Toronto, which place are you going to choose? It got narrowed down Sunday, or Monday. Monday, maybe, I was told the deal was done. Then the deal wasn't done. Then Toronto came back in at the last second with something and I almost lost it. It just kept getting postponed, the date and time of the actual deal being finished. That was the hardest part, the uncertainty of the whole thing."
Any idea where you'll live?
“The first home (my wife Erin and I) lived in is in Orange. We have renters in it that don't seem to want to move. We'll figure it out."
This week, (the reporters) were told you weren't around. Did you get a chance to say goodbye to your teammates?
“I'd come in a couple times to basically say goodbye to the guys and get my stuff and I met with Peter and whatever. I was around them, so that was nice. It was hard, obviously. At least I was able to, you know, tell them goodbye."
Seemed like, from the beginning, the fans had your back. They identified with you. What's your impression of Union fans?
“It's been, I felt an incredible bond with the fanbase just about from the very beginning. It was really and it is really something that really vaults this club. It's such an integral part of what the Union is all about. I feel real fortunate that they appreciate the effort that I put out on the field. They appreciate it, they're knowledgable enough to see it even when I'm not perfect. They've been amazing to me from the outset, top to bottom. It's been absolutely, 100-percent been a highlight to play at PPL Park and in front of those fans. God's honest, 100-percent, the highlight. I can't say enough."