KANSAS CITY, MO - Kansas City Wizards General Manager Curt Johnson announced today that midfielder Diego Gutierrez has signed a new multi-year contract. Per league policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed. Gutierrez, in his second stint in Kansas City, just completed his ninth season in MLS and fifth with the Wizards.
"We are thrilled to re-sign Diego. He has been an integral part of our organization's success both on the field and off," said Johnson. This signing is the first step as we look forward to and plan for the 2005 season."
Gutierrez, 32, enjoyed one of the finest seasons of his nine-year MLS career. He started and appeared in 28 matches, scoring three goals and adding four assists for 10 points and finished fourth on the team in scoring.
"This is a great opportunity for me to end my career where I started and basically come full circle," said Gutierrez. "I appreciate the opportunity that Curt and the coaching staff has given me and I intend to take this time to hopefully bring more Championships to Kansas City. There is no other place I would rather be playing."
Playing much of his career primarily as a left back and left-sided midfielder, he moved into a central defender role late last season. This year, Gutierrez relished his role as a central midfielder for the Wizards in 2004. His role in the midfield played a vital role in the Wizards counterattack that was so successful for the team this season.
Gutierrez took over as the team's captain two-thirds of the way through the season when goalkeeper Tony Meola went down with an injury. His leadership helped guide the Wizards to the 2004 U.S. Open Cup Championship, the Western Conference Championship and a spot in the MLS Cup 2004 Final.
A product of Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Missouri, Gutierrez has appeared in 187 career matches, including 170 starts. He has scored 10 goals and added 37 assists for 57 career points. His 187 appearances are tied for 18th all-time in MLS history.