But it was only after all the pomp and circumstance that the magnitude really hit him.
“It’s great to have this moment, and it was very emotional,” he said. “When you are a player, you dream about that — when you are a kid, when you watch a movie… To happen to me, it’s kind of weird but awesome at the same time.”
The team’s tributes included a video with highlights from Le Toux’s playing days, and a recorded messages from former teammates Kyle Nakazawa (a fellow Union original), Tranquillo Barnetta and Conor Casey.
There were also two former teammates in attendance: Brian Carroll, who retired last year, and Zach Pfeffer, the Union’s first homegrown player.
Pfeffer, a Dresher native, hadn’t been to the stadium in a few years. He admitted it was “a little weird” to be back. Now 23 years old, he retired from playing after the 2016 season and enrolled in Temple’s business school to study for a finance degree. But he kept in touch with some of his old teammates, especially Le Toux.
“He was one of the veterans that took me under his wing and showed me the ropes, showed me how to be a true professional,” Pfeffer said. “He had a great influence on me, and obviously had an amazing influence on everyone here.”
Le Toux admitted to being nervous in the last few days, as he worked on a short speech for the crowd at Talen Energy Stadium. But when he stood at the podium, he was as level-headed as he used to be in front of opponents’ goals.
“Being here was a blessing for me,” he said to the crowd. “You welcomed me in this beautiful city, you welcomed me in this beautiful team, and I love you guys.”
Perhaps Le Toux’s most heartfelt sentiment came in a conversation with reporters a few minutes later.
“They traded me once, they traded me twice, but now I’m here forever, so nobody can trade me from that,” he said.
Call that one last fine finish from the Union’s all-time leading scorer.
LIVE: Sébastien Le Toux Inducted Into Ring of Honor
Posted by Philadelphia Union on Saturday, June 23, 2018