Carlos Ruiz (Guatemalan footballer)

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"Carlos Ruiz (footballer)" redirects here. For the Argentine footballer, see Carlos Ruiz (Argentine footballer).
This name uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is Ruiz and the second or maternal family name is Gutiérrez.
Carlos Ruiz
Carlos Ruiz.JPG
Ruiz playing for FC Dallas in 2007
Personal information
Full name Carlos Humberto Ruíz Gutiérrez
Date of birth (1979-09-15) September 15, 1979 (age 35)
Place of birth Guatemala City, Guatemala
Height 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
Playing position Forward
Club information
Current team
Number 20
Youth career
1991–1995 Municipal
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1995–2002 Municipal 143 (69)
2000–2001 PAS Giannina 4 (0)
2002–2004 Los Angeles Galaxy 72 (50)
2005–2007 FC Dallas 74 (36)
2008 Los Angeles Galaxy 10 (1)
2008 Toronto FC 5 (0)
2009 Olimpia 18 (10)
2009–2010 Puebla 33 (9)
2010–2011 Aris 16 (1)
2011 Philadelphia Union 14 (6)
2011–2012 Veracruz 23 (10)
2013 D.C. United 13 (0)
2014– Municipal 43 (23)
National team
1998– Guatemala 108 (57)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 27 March 2015.

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 14 September 2014

Carlos Humberto Ruiz Gutiérrez (born September 15, 1979 in Guatemala City), initially nicknamed El Pescadito ("The Little Fish") but gradually known as just Pescado or "Fish" (even by Spanish-speakers), is a Guatemalan footballer who last played for Municipal of Guatemala.

A product of CSD Municipal's "cantera" (youth academy), Ruiz has also played for four Major League Soccer clubs (Los Angeles Galaxy, FC Dallas, Toronto FC, and Philadelphia Union), scoring 87 goals in 168 MLS regular season matches and 16 goals in the post-season, which is the record for the most post-season goals in MLS history. In 2002, he was named the MLS' Most Valuable Player of the season.

Ruiz was also a member of the Guatemalan national team beginning in 1998, later becoming its captain and all-time top scorer, and being part of four World Cup qualification processes. As of 2014, he is apart of Guatemala.

Club career[edit]

Early career (1995-2002)[edit]

Ruiz, born in Guatemala City, Guatemala, started his footballing career in local club San Carlos. At the age of 12, he joined the youth divisions of CSD Municipal and at 16 he made his professional debut.[1] He became a starter for Municipal and a young star in the Guatemalan league until 2000, when he traveled to Europe to play for a short time alongside compatriot Guillermo Ramírez at Greek club PAS Giannina. After a stint with PAS he returned to Municipal, and then in January 2002 he signed with the Los Angeles Galaxy. He was initially skeptical, telling The New York Times, "I didn't know anything about MLS or soccer in the U.S. Everything we hear about Major League Soccer is not so good... We hear that all the players come here to finish their careers." However, he found the level to be better than he imagined, saying: "In the beginning, I was not happy to come here. But after a couple of games and when I see the level of soccer here, I was excited to play here."[2] Once in MLS, Ruiz shone immediately.

Major League Soccer (2002-2009)[edit]

Ruiz playing for Los Angeles Galaxy.

In his debut season in 2002, Ruiz scored 24 goals (MLS Golden Boot), leading the Galaxy to the MLS Cup by scoring the only Golden goal in MLS Cup history. He was named the MLS Most Valuable Player that year. In the playoffs, he scored eight goals and added two assists, totaling 18 points and setting an MLS record for goals and points in a single postseason. In his second season, Ruiz cooled off significantly, but the forward still finished the season tied with Taylor Twellman for the league lead in goals with 15. He continued to statistically drop in 2004, scoring 11 goals. Ruiz had trials at English side Wolverhampton Wanderers in the 2003–04 season.

In 2005, when Landon Donovan expressed his desire to come back to MLS, the Galaxy traded Ruiz to FC Dallas for the #1 allocation in the MLS pecking order, so that they could acquire Donovan. Ruiz finished his year in Dallas with 11 goals and two assists. During the postseason, Ruiz scored two goals in the second leg match against the Colorado Rapids but FC Dallas were eliminated on penalty kicks.

In February 2006, the MLS fully bought Ruiz's contract rights from his former Club Municipal and FC Dallas were able to negotiate a multi-year deal. In March 2006, a bicycle kick goal he scored against D.C. United was selected as the "Goal of the Decade" in MLS through online voting.[3]

During a 2007 game against the Houston Dynamo, Ruiz was involved in a controversial incident with Houston midfielder Ricardo Clark. Following a corner kick in which the two players became entangled, Clark violently kicked Ruiz in the upper body as he lay on the pitch hoping to draw a foul.[4] Ruiz then hit Clark's back with his knee during the subsequent play, and both players were sent off, with Clark also receiving the longest suspension in league history.

Following the conclusion of the 2007 season, Ruiz appeared to be unwilling to return to Dallas and to be holding out for a move back to the Galaxy. Earlier attempts to produce a trade faltered due to Ruiz being a grandfathered Designated player, with the Galaxy already having other players in the same situation (Landon Donovan and David Beckham). In January 2008, FC Dallas traded Ruiz to the Galaxy for an undisclosed cash allocation and the Galaxy's natural second-round pick in next year's MLS SuperDraft. At his departure, he said, "I did everything I could to win a championship with Dallas. Unfortunately, it did not happen."[5]

He spoke about Galaxy to ESPN analyst Andrea Canales: "I still think the Galaxy is the best team in the U.S. They're the best organization. The Galaxy have always had famous players. They continue to be a team that people always follow," and added his personal relief to be on the Galaxy team, "I’m so glad I came to the Galaxy and not another team, because I would have felt like I was starting over."[6] In the season opener, however, Ruiz suffered a knee injury and was unable to play for over a month.[7] While Ruiz was injured, the Galaxy found unexpected striking potential in Edson Buddle and even after coming off of injury, Ruiz was notably still left off the travel roster for a high-profile game against D.C. United. He scored his first of the 2008 season on July 19, in a game against New York Red Bulls.

Ruiz was traded on August 19, 2008 to Toronto FC who in-turn released Laurent Robert to make room for Ruiz. He was expected to help solve TFC's goal scoring woes as he has 82 goals to his MLS credit, but managed only five first team games, in which he scored no goals.[8] He was released by Toronto in early 2009 after they signed Dwayne De Rosario.

Olimpia (2009)[edit]

On January 31, 2009, Ruiz signed a contract with Paraguayan club Olimpia Asunción under the request of then-coach Ever Hugo Almeida. He scored 10 goals and was a fan favourite. One of his most memorable goals was against Cerro Porteño in the derby which Olimpia won 2–0. He also scored a hat trick against Rubio Ñu in a 5–3 victory for Olimpia.

Puebla (2009-2010)[edit]

Ruiz signed with Puebla on 30 June 2009 under head coach José Luis Sánchez Solá. On 25 July 2009, in a game against Tigres, he scored his first goal for Puebla on a penalty kick. He wore number 20, which is the same number he previously wore for L.A. Galaxy, F.C. Dallas, and the Guatemala national team.

Aris FC (2010)[edit]

Ruiz agreed to join Aris FC on July 12, 2010. He made his debut in Europe on 18 August 2010 in the playoff round of the Europa League against Austria Wien, becoming the first Guatemalan footballer ever to appear in a UEFA competition match. The first leg was played in Thessaloniki with Ruiz netting on his debut to give Aris a 1–0 victory. In the second leg, played in Vienna, Ruiz scored again in a 1–1 draw, giving Aris a 2–1 aggregate victory and sending them through to the group stage, where he scored one more goal against Rosenborg.

Philadelphia Union (2011)[edit]

After trialling with the club during the 2011 MLS pre-season, Ruiz signed with Philadelphia Union on February 22, 2011.[9] On March 26 he scored Philadelphia's winning goal in the home opener of the 2011 MLS season against Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Ruiz also scored the "MLS Goal of the Week" in Week 10 of the season with a game-winning 35 yard strike against the Chicago Fire.[10]

Veracruz (2011)[edit]

On August 3, 2011, Ruíz was transferred to Tiburones Rojos de Veracruz.[11] He scored first goal vs Correcaminos during the 4th week of the 2011 Apertura tournament,[12] and finished the year with six goals in five matches. Ruiz remained a part of the club until 2013, though he was inactive for nearly a year.[13]

D.C. United (2013)[edit]

On January 31, 2013, Municipal announced that Ruiz would be rejoining the club.[14] However, this move was cancelled after Veracruz refused to terminate Ruiz' contract.[15] On February 20, 2013, DC United announced that the club had signed Ruiz via the MLS allocation process to a one-year deal.[16] On October 30, 2013 DC United announced they declined the contract option on Ruiz.[17]

Return to Guatemala (2014)[edit]

On February 8, 2014, Municipal announced that Ruiz would be rejoining the club. He signed an 18 month contract that currently makes him the highest paid footballer ever in Central America.

International career[edit]

Overall, Ruiz has earned 103 caps and scored 55 goals for his country and has played at the World Cup qualification campaigns for the FIFA World Cups of 2002, 2006, 2010, and 2014. He played his first international match on November 11, 1998, a friendly against Mexico, and scored his first goal against El Salvador at the 1999 UNCAF Nations Cup. In 2000, as the Guatemala national futsal team had begun its development, Ruiz was selected, along with other 11-a-side football players, as part of the squad that competed at the 2000 Futsal World Championship, hosted by Guatemala. He scored one goal in the tournament.

After scoring eight goals in nine matches during the 2002 World Cup qualification campaign and already having a successful career in the MLS, Ruiz was the focal point of the Guatemalan team in qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, leading the team in scoring as they reached the final stage of the CONCACAF region.

On June 14, 2008 Ruiz broke Juan Carlos Plata's all-time individual goalscoring record for Guatemala by scoring four goals against Saint Lucia in Guatemala's 2010 World Cup qualification opening match. Ruiz reached 39 overall goals, four more than Plata's total. Ruiz also became the first Guatemalan player to score four goals in a World Cup qualification match. On September 10, 2008, Ruiz scored two goals against Cuba in Guatemala's 2010 World Cup qualification in the 3rd match of the 3rd round of qualification of the CONCACAF region. Those two goals extended his all-time individual scoring record for Guatemala to 41 overall goals, six more than Plata's total.[18]

On February 9, 2009, he announced his retirement from international football.[19] However, on January 4, 2011, Carlos Ruiz stated full re-activity in international football, making the UNCAF 2011 championship to be held in Panama his first international tournament in two years.[20] He then participated in the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup,[21] scoring one goal against Grenada in the first round and another one against Mexico in the quarterfinals in a 2-1 defeat.

On October 16, 2012, Ruiz announced his retirement from international competition after a 3-1 loss to the United States in Livestrong Sporting Park during the 2014 World Cup qualifications, the Guatemalan national team eliminated from world cup contention with Ruiz as the sole scorer.

International goals[edit]


Career statistics (2002- )[edit]


Club performance League Cup League Cup Continental Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
USA League Open Cup League Cup North America Total
2002 Los Angeles Galaxy Major League Soccer 26 24 6 8 32 32
2003 26 15 2 2 28 17
2004 20 11 3 1 23 12
2005 FC Dallas 19 11 2 2 21 13
2006 27 13 2 2 29 15
2007 22 7 2 1 24 8
2008 Los Angeles Galaxy 10 1 - - 10 1
2008 Toronto FC 5 0 - - 5 0
Paraguay League Cup League Cup Continental Total
2009 Olimpia Asuncion Paraguayan Primera División 18 10 18 10
México League Cup League Cup Continental Total
2009–2010 Puebla F.C. Primera División de México 33 9 33 9
Greece League Cup League Cup Continental Total
2010–2011 Aris Thessaloniki F.C. Super League Greece 15 1 9 3 24 4
USA League Open Cup League Cup North America Total
2011 Philadelphia Union Major League Soccer 14 6 1 1 0 0 0 0 15 7
México League Cup League Cup Continental Total
2011 Tiburones Rojos de Veracruz Liga de Ascenso 17 10 0 0 0 0 0 0 17 10
Total USA 169 88 1 1 17 16 0 0 187 105
Total Paraguay 18 10 0 0 0 0 0 0 18 10
Total México 50 19 0 0 0 0 0 0 50 19
Total Greece 15 1 0 0 0 0 9 3 24 4
Career total 247 119 1 1 17 16 9 3 274 139



  • League champion (2): 2000 Clausura, 2002 Clausura

Los Angeles Galaxy[edit]

  • Champion (1): 2002


  • Major League Soccer MVP: 2002
  • MLS Cup MVP: 2002
  • MLS Golden Boot (24 goals): 2002
  • MLS Golden Boot (tie) (15 goals): 2003
  • MLS All-Star Game MVP: 2003

Other MLS Achievements[edit]

Ruiz is currently the 9th all-time leading goal scorer in MLS history. He is also the All-Time Leading Goal Scorer in MLS Playoff history with 16 goals in 17 games. He was also a nominee for the 2011 MLS All-Star Game.[24]

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Marcus, Maria (March 28, 2008). "Little Fish in an Increasingly Competitive Pond". The New York Times Goal Blog. Retrieved 2008-05-12. 
  3. ^ "Player bio"., Major League Soccer. Retrieved 2006-11-24. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ Aparicio, Diego (January 15, 2008). "FC Dallas trades Carlos Ruiz to LA Galaxy". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved 2008-05-11. 
  6. ^ Canales, Andrea (March 13, 2008). "The Return of Ruiz". Retrieved 2008-05-18. 
  7. ^ "Carlos Ruiz undergoes knee surgery". PA Wire Services. April 1, 2008. Archived from the original on 2008-04-06. Retrieved 2008-05-18. 
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ "". 
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ "DC United decline contract options for Carlos Ruiz, Lionard Pajoy and Marcelo Saragosa". October 30, 2013. 
  18. ^ Source:
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^ "Carlos Ruiz international goals". Retrieved 2009-11-25. 
  23. ^
  24. ^

External links[edit]