Sporting Kansas City has signed 27-year-old Chilean international midfielder Felipe Gutierrez as a Designated Player, the club announced on Tuesday.
Gutierrez joins Sporting KC on a three-year contract through 2020 with an option for 2021. He will occupy an international slot on the club’s roster pending receipt of his International Transfer Certificate and P-1 Visa.
“Felipe has a tremendous amount of experience playing in very difficult environments in top-level competitions,” Sporting KC Manager Peter Vermes said. “He also possesses the DNA that we look for in players that fit our style. He is excited about joining the club and we are ecstatic for him to be a part of our team.”
A native of Quintero, Chile, Gutierrez has represented his country 35 times at the senior international level. The versatile midfielder has competed on a global stage at the sport’s highest level, featuring at the 2014 FIFA World Cup and helping Chile lift the 2015 Copa America title as champions of South America. On the club side, Gutierrez has played nearly 250 matches during his accomplished career in Chile, Netherlands and Spain.
After beginning his youth career at local club Everton de Vina del Mar in 2004, Gutierrez joined 12-time Chilean Primera Division champion CD Universidad Catolica in 2009 at age 18. He enjoyed a breakout season for the club in 2011, scoring 10 goals in the top-flight Primera Division as Universidad Catolica finished atop the spring Apertura standings and won the 2011 Copa Chile.
Gutierrez remained with Unversidad Catolica for the 2012 Apertura campaign — where he led the team with seven goals in 16 games — before landing a transfer to FC Twente in the Netherlands ahead of the 2012-13 Eredivisie season. He debuted for the Dutch side in a UEFA Europa League qualifier, marking his first of nine appearances in the European tournament that year.
In his sophomore season at FC Twente, Gutierrez reached new heights as the midfielder started 33 league matches and was named the 2013-14 Eredivisie Most Valuable Player for his instrumental role in propelling the Tukkers to a third-place finish in the table. Gutierrez missed most of 2014-15 through injury but returned for a strong 2015-16 campaign as he started 27 of 30 appearances in all competitions.
Gutierrez moved from Netherlands to Spain in 2016-17, signing for Spanish La Liga side Real Betis. His first La Liga goal was a stoppage-time winner as Real Betis ousted Osasuna 2-1 in October 2016. Gutierrez spent most of 2017 on loan at Internacional in Brazil, where he played 16 games and helped the club gain promotion to the top-flight Serie A.
Gutierrez received his first call to the Chile Men’s National Team in May 2010, debuting in a 1-0 friendly win over Northern Ireland. The following year, Gutierrez was included on Chile’s squad for the 2011 Copa America but did not feature at the quadrennial tournament. He later joined La Roja for 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifying — scoring his first international goal against Argentina in October 2012 — and in the process earned a spot on Chile’s 23-man roster for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. He featured in each of Chile’s four matches at the prestigious competition as La Roja advanced out of the group stage before falling to hosts Brazil on penalty kicks in the Round of 16.
In 2015, Gutierrez helped Chile win the country’s first-ever Copa America title on home soil. In the tournament final, the hosts edged Argentina 4-1 in a penalty shootout after a scoreless draw to hoist South America’s most prized international trophy. He then made eight appearances in 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying, where he tallied another goal versus Argentina in March 2016, and was selected to Chile’s roster for the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia.
Transaction: Sporting Kansas City (MLS) signs midfielder Felipe Gutierrez as a Designated Player.
Felipe Gutierrez (feh-LEE-pay)
Born: 10/8/1990 (27 years old)
Weight: 145 lbs.
Birthplace: Quintero, Chile
Hometown: Quintero, Chile
Previous club: Real Betis (Spain)