Andrew Gutman hoping for stability with Fire

Left back Andrew Gutman wants to spend a long time with the Fire. The Hinsdale native proved that last Friday by closing on a house near where he grew up.

“This is the last club I want to play for,” Gutman said. “I want to be here for the rest of my career.”

Stability like that would be welcome for Gutman, 27. Up until now, it has been elusive during his professional career.

A product of the Fire’s youth system, Gutman declined to sign a homegrown contract, instead inking a deal with Scottish powerhouse Celtic in 2019. Unfortunately, Gutman couldn’t land a work permit, sending him on a journey through American soccer. He started 2019 by spending time on loan with Charlotte Independence in the USL Championship before moving to FC Cincinnati on loan for the rest of 2019 and then the 2020 season.

Celtic then sold Gutman to Atlanta United before the 2021 season, but he was loaned to the Red Bulls. Then in 2022, Gutman played for Atlanta, where he stayed until the middle of the 2023 season, when he moved to the Rapids.

Gutman was dealt to the Fire last December in exchange for left back Miguel Navarro and $450,000 in general allocation money. And while the Fire picked up a quality defender with MLS experience, Gutman might have attained some permanence in his career finally, signing a new deal at the time of the trade that runs through 2026 with a team option for 2027.

It also made him confident enough to invest in some real estate and plant roots.

“It’s my first home,” Gutman said. “It’s always been a goal and a dream of mine to own a piece of property. Thankfully, to be able to own my first piece of property in the city [where] I grew up is amazing. I get to have a place I call my own and have my friends and family I’ve known my entire life come over and enjoy it with me.”

As Gutman gets settled in his new digs, he can reflect on the chaotic start to his professional career. He doesn’t regret turning down the Fire and signing with Celtic, and he has moved on emotionally from losing out on a chance to wear the Scottish club’s iconic green and white hoops in a competitive match.

Now five years removed from committing to Celtic, Gutman looks back and sees how he learned to adapt to whatever got in his way. When he signed with Celtic, Gutman had just finished playing at Indiana University, relatively close to home and near enough for his parents to watch matches.

Not long after, Gutman was trying to establish himself as a professional whose intended move to Europe was dashed. His path led him back to the Fire, allowing him to finally wear the team’s uniform in MLS matches.

“It was a special moment,” Gutman said of suiting up for the Fire for the first time. “I wish it would have happened six years ago, but better late than never.”

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