You don't always have to be playing to make your presence known. This sentiment rings true for Union defender Chris Albright.
Albright, who is playing in his 15th MLS season, has played in just one match this season for a total of three minutes. Still, his many accomplishments paint the portrait of a man universally respected around the league.
In his career, Albright has appeared in 22 games for Team USA, and he's been a part of three MLS Cup-winning teams (D.C. United 1999, L.A. Galaxy 2002, 2005) and was named to the MLS Best XI team in 2005.
While he may not physically be able to help out this young Union team, he has plenty of words of wisdom to throw around at any moment. He's happy to have other veterans on the team this year, like Sebastien Le Toux and Jeff Parke, to help him out.
"I'm an older guy, so I need some help keeping the locker room straight sometimes," said Albright. "Some guys lead by example, while others lead with a heavy hand. It's nice to have some older guys that can keep the team moving in the right direction."
One thing that Le Toux and Parke can't tell them is what it's like to play for their country. It's an honor bestowed only upon soccer's greatest competitors. Albright takes pride in that as his career comes closer to the end.
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"A lot of the younger guys have picked my brain about my experience with the national team. It's soccer's greatest honor to be able to play for your country," said Albright. "I look back at it now with fonder memories than when I was in it. When you're in it, it's the anxiety of it and the pressure of playing on the biggest stage. Now I can really think back at the memories and meaning at what it meant to play in the Olympics and in a World Cup. Those were life-changing experiences."
Whether he walks away from the game this season or the next, Albright's happy to be back home. Albright, a Philadelphia native and standout at Penn Charter, sees the Union as his last stop.
"This is definitely going to be my final destination. I'm so happy to be home," said Alright. "I've had a long career in a lot of different places, but it feels good to be home now in a good organization and I'm trying to help build something that will last a long time ... My main goal is to just bring a championship here. With this most likely being my final year as a player I'd love to end my career on that note."