Diego Gutiérrez (soccer)
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 Head of Scouting and Player Development for Philadelphia Union.
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, and was drafted by the then-Kansas City Wiz 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. 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.
Gutiérrez became a United States citizen in 2000, and received one cap with the U.S. national team, coming on December 9, 2001 against South Korea. He serves on the board of directors of the FireWorks for Kids Foundation, the charitable arm of the Chicago Fire. 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.
Gutiérrez was one of the few players in international soccer to resolve the controversy surrounding a players' ability to represent multiple countries, as he represented his native Colombia at the youth levels, but later became a senior international for the United States..
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