Gutman’s soccer expertise lands him spots on Chicago Fire Reserve, Indiana University

Andrew Gutman, junior, was standing on the sidelines of a soccer field, waiting for a game to begin against the Rochester Rhinos. The referee blew the starting whistle, and Gutman began to trot onto the turf, playing as a member of the Chicago Fire Reserve team in a game in the United Soccer League, a professional soccer league second in popularity only to Major League Soccer. At 17-years-old, Gutman was one of the youngest players on the field, finally getting his first action as a professional soccer player.

Gutman plays left-back for the Chicago Fire Academy team, a member of the United States Soccer Development Academy (USSDA). The team plays highly competitive soccer against club teams from all across the United States, and even serves as a feeder team for the Chicago Fire.

The Chicago Fire academy season starts in the fall, traveling all around the Midwest and playing games almost every single week, with practices every day. After the fall season ends, the team travels to Florida to play teams across the country in three different “friendly games.

Currently, Gutman’s Chicago Fire academy team is ranked first in the central division, and fifth in the entire league out of 80 teams. Along with playing the game, Gutman enjoys the team experience just as much.

“I love playing with the team,” Gutman said. “I get better, and it pushes me everyday to play to the best of my ability. One of my favorite parts is just traveling with the team. Staying in the hotel room with all of the guys, and finding something to do when were all bored, its always a fun time.”

Gutman began playing soccer when he was only five-years-old. Participating in a local AYSO soccer league until second grade, Gutman was taken out of the league because of regulations that forbade prohibited him from scoring more than a fixed number of goals.

After AYSO, Gutman moved on to play for the Hawks, and then the Chicago Pride until the end of freshman year in high school, both local travel teams. Since he began playing travel soccer, Gutman has played seven days a week, year round, with no particular offseason.

While he played other sports as a child as well, Gutman was very committed to soccer, and this was shown by the amount of time he spent on the field. He would finish basketball practice after school, and then go directly to soccer, with no breaks in-between. Gutman attributed this commitment to his love for the game.

“I love the fact that soccer is a nonstop game,” Gutman said. “It’s always going and always moving. You always have to be thinking, and there are no breaks at all.”

Off the pitch (soccer field), Gutman works out at a fitness center both on off days and practice days. He participates in mostly endurance related activities, working with weights and doing different running exercises.

Along with playing for the Chicago Fire Academy team, Gutman recently committed to Indiana University in Bloomington, receiving a scholarship to play soccer. Although Gutman is looking forward to his experience in college soccer, he is by no means expecting his soccer career to end there.

“Basically why I’m doing this is not only to get into college,” Gutman said. “I’ve already achieved that. My goal is to one day get noticed to play in the MLS.”