Chicago Fire FC talent Brian Gutierrez could soon be the next dual-nationality player to make the pivotal decision.
Gutierrez kicked off his football career with the Chicago Fire academy in 2015, working his way up before signing a homegrown player deal with the club’s first team just five years later. He made his Major League Soccer debut on August 20, 2020, coming off the bench against in the 82nd-minute against the Columbus Crew.
The midfielder made six appearances during his rookie season, gradually becoming an integral part of the roster. Now, after four goals and 17 assists in 88 games, Gutierrez holds an indisputable spot on the team’s starting 11.
His consistency in MLS drew international attention, receiving multiple call ups to U.S. youth national teams including the Under 20 and Under 23. But on the senior level, there remains a lot at stake.
Born in Illinois, United States to Mexican parents, the dual-nationality midfielder could represent either national team on an international football level but he has yet to make a clear decision.
“My approach first is to do things well on the pitch, and that will bring attention. But it’ll be what’s best for me and what’s best for my heart. Obviously, what my heart feels. I will decide when the time comes, but I don’t have a clear response yet,” he said exclusively to 90min.
Gutierrez went on to reveal US men’s national team head coach Gregg Berhalter has made contact, keeping tabs on his situation as the Olympic games approach.
“The US side has reached out. I’ve had talks with Gregg, where he talks about being part of the first team and the Olympics that are coming up in the summer,” he said.
The player admitted Mexico has not made contact, but welcomes any form of communication from the FMF.
“Im always open to talk and always open for both national teams.”
Beyond the national teams, Gutierrez insists holding a dual-nationality means more than international football. Being Mexican-American shaped him to be the player he is today, and hold a unique position in Chicago.
“Honestly, it’s the best of both worlds. You get the Mexican side and the American side to form you. Obviously growing up in Chicago, my parents are both Mexican and instilled in me the culture and background. I grew up family oriented with food all around, but while in school I was more American. I spoke spanish at home so more the Mexican, and switched to english outside,” he explained.
“It’s a privilege. I’m so grateful to hold both nationalities. Not every kid has this unique honor like I do, and I want to make the most out of it. The kids in Chicago like me, the Mexican-Americans, they really look up to me and I’m really thankful by trying to be the best role model. I try to make my city and my family proud, thats the most important thing for me. It’s an honor to represent this community.”
The midfielder will embark on his fifth professional season with the Chicago Fire at just 20 years old as the team visits the Philadelphia Union on February 24 at Subaru Park.