Diego Gutiérrez (soccer)

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Diego Gutiérrez
Personal information
Full name Diego Gutiérrez
Date of birth (1972-11-03) November 3, 1972 (age 44)
Place of birth Bogotá, Colombia
Height 1.70 m (5 ft 7 in)
Playing position midfielder
Youth career
1992–1993 Evansville
1994–1995 Rockhurst
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1996–1997 Kansas City Wizards 33 (0)
1998–2001 Chicago Fire 109 (7)
1998 MLS Pro-40 (loan) 2 (0)
2002–2005 Kansas City Wizards 101 (4)
2006–2008 Chicago Fire 51 (1)
National team
2001 United States 1 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

Diego Gutiérrez (born November 3, 1972 in Bogotá, Colombia) is a retired Colombian American soccer player, who spent his career between Chicago Fire and Kansas City Wizards, both of Major League Soccer, and is currently a television commentator for Sporting Kansas City and Fox Sports 1.

Early life and education[edit]

Born in Colombia, Gutiérrez was part of that country's youth teams. He came to the United States to attend the University of Evansville and Rockhurst College. He was a 1994 First Team NAIA All American at Rockhurst.[1]

Club career[edit]

The then-Kansas City Wiz selected Gutiérrez in the second round of the 1996 MLS College Draft. Gutiérrez spent two seasons in Kansas City, but missed all of 1997 with an ACL injury.

Gutiérrez's career took off after he was taken by the Chicago Fire in the 1997 MLS Expansion Draft. He helped the expansion club to the 1998 MLS Cup and US Open Cup double, scoring his first goal as a professional in the 2-0 MLS Cup win over D.C. United. Usually a left back, but equally adept at both defense and midfield, he spent four seasons in Chicago, winning a second Open Cup in 2000. Prior to the 2002 season, Gutiérrez was re-acquired by Kansas City, winning his third Open Cup in 2004. After the 2005 season, he was traded back to Chicago for Will John and a draft pick.[2] In his MLS career, Gutiérrez has scored ten regular season goals and 39 assists, adding that MLS Cup goal and two assists in the playoffs. With the season-ending injury of former Fire defender Jim Curtin, the versatile professional filled in as a defender, joining fellow "Fire Original" C.J. Brown on the backline. In his new defending role, Gutierrez recorded an assist in the October 6 match against the New England Revolution, ranking him fourth overall in Fire career assists leaders with 30 assists through six seasons. Gutierrez appeared in 23 league matches for Chicago through the 2007 season, starting in 22.

On February 4, 2008, Gutierrez, the 2007 U.S. Soccer Federation/MLS Humanitarian of the Year, announced that the 2008 season would be the last of his professional playing career.

International career[edit]

Gutiérrez became a United States citizen in 2000,[3] and received one cap with the U.S. national team, coming on December 9, 2001 against South Korea.

Off field activity[edit]

He was asked to be the keynote speaker at his own citizenship ceremony, on July 4, 2000. He was invited to the join President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush at the White House on April 25, 2007, for World Malaria Day, and he was invited to participate as a forum speaker in the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Malaria Forum in October 2007. He traveled to Mali in December 2007 for a United Nation's Foundation trip to observe the distribution of insecticide treated bed nets and speak about leading healthy lifestyles.

On January 6, 2009, the White House issued a press release[4] from President George W. Bush appointing Gutiérrez to the Presidential Council for Physical Fitness and Sports, an appointment that he continued to serve under President Obama until May 2010. Gutiérrez was named Head of Scouting and Player Development for MLS side Philadelphia Union on December 16, 2010.[5]

He joined Sporting Kansas City as its lead television commenator ahead of the 2014 season while continuing to call UEFA Champions League matches for Fox Sports 1.[6]

References[edit]