Born: October 25, 1986
Town: Hamilton, New Jersey
Edward Gaven was born October 25, 1986 in Hamilton. At a young age he distinguished himself as a soccer prodigy. At the age of 7, he caught the eye of Bob Bradley, who was coaching his son, Michael. He would later become Eddie’s first pro coach. At the age of 14, Eddie was recruited by the U.S. Soccer Federation and sent to train at the USSF academy in Bradenton, Florida. He developed into one of the country’s top young midfielders and stood 6’0” by the age of 16. In the 2003 Major League Soccer Super Draft, Eddie was selected with the 12th overall pick by the MetroStars. At the time, he was the youngest MLS signee.
Eddie made his MLS debut at 16 years 2 months in a June 2003 game against the Chicago Fire. He scored a goal in his second game, against D.C. United—an overtime game-winner. In all, Eddie played in 12 regular-season and 2 playoff games as a rookie. In 2004, Eddie cracked the starting lineup and netted 7 goals in 29 games. He became the youngest player picked to play in the MLS All-Star Game that year. He added 8 goals in 2005, his final season with the MetroStars.
Prior to the 2006 season, the Columbus Crew traded Edson Buddle for Eddie. Although his scoring dropped slightly with Columbus, the young veteran’s leadership helped the Crew reach the MLS Cup championship game in 2008. His game-winning goal against the Fire in the Eastern Conference championship game earned Columbus a shot at his old club, renamed the Red Bulls. The Crew won the MLS crown, 3–1. Eddie actually left his cleats at the hotel the morning of the game and had to borrow a spare pair from a teammate.
Eddie played five more years for Columbus. His steady play made him a fan favorite and his trademark beard made him easily recognizable around town, and around the league. An ACL injury suffered during the 2013 U.S. Open Cup cut short his career. He scored 52 goals in 283 games, and was the youngest player in league history to reach the 250-game plateau.