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Sporting Kansas City sign Chilean MF Felipe Gutierrez as Designated Player

Felipe Gutierrez - playing for Chile - close up


A World Cup veteran and Copa América winner is coming to Kansas City.

On Tuesday, Sporting Kansas City announced the signing of 27-year-old Chilean midfielder Felipe Gutierrez as a Designated Player on a three-year contract through 2020, with an option for 2021.

"Felipe has a tremendous amount of experience playing in very difficult environments in top-level competitions,” Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes said in a statement. “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.”

Gutierrez, who will occupy an international roster spot, has represented Chile’s senior national team 35 times, including appearances at the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2015 Copa América, which Chile won.

At the club level, the midfielder has played in nearly 250 matches across top-flight leagues in Chile, Netherlands and Spain. In Chile, he starred for CD Universidad Catolica before transferring to Dutch side FC Twente ahead of the 2012-13 Eredivisie campaign. The following season, he started 33 league matches was named the 2013-14 Eredivisie Most Valuable Player, and after another strong year in 2015-16, he moved to La Liga side Real Betis in 2016-17.

His first La Liga goal was a stoppage-time winner vs. Osasuna in October of 2016, but he spent most of 2017 on loan at Brazil club Internacional, helping them gain promotion.

At the 2014 World Cup, he featured in all four matches, leading Chile out of the group stage before they fell to host Brazil on penalty kicks in the Round of 16. The following year, he helped Chile win the country’s first-ever Copa America title as they edged Argentina in PKs on their home soil.

Gutierrez was first linked to Kansas City last week with reports stating he had contacts with the team through SKC striker and fellow Chilean Diego Rubio.