Last Season for Diego Gutierrez

Chicago Fire midfielder Diego Gutierrez said on Monday that the 2008 season will be his last. One of just two players on the club's current roster who was also with the Fire during their inaugural season in 1998, the 35-year-old Gutierrez has announced that he will retire after this season.
"I was very close to calling it a career three weeks ago," said Gutierrez. "I was done, mentally speaking. I wasn't sure which direction the franchise was going at that point and the roster looked a lot different. I had a lot of opportunities for other business ventures as well.

"When [the Fire] put the coaching staff together, I decided it was maybe time to give it one more run. Denis and I see soccer in the same way. I'm more excited for this season than I have been for any other season since coming into the league.

"I'm happy I will retire with the Fire jersey. I have the Fire logo tattooed on my heart."

The Bogota, Colombia native has split his 12-year MLS career between the Fire and the Kansas City Wizards, making 296 appearances and scoring 13 goals with 45 assists. He was selected to the All-Star team in 2001, playing the entire second-half of the game, and has made it to the post-season in all but two of his years in the league. He will be looked upon in 2008 to bring veteran leadership and solid play to the midfield under new head coach Denis Hamlett.

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