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Despite citizenship, Fire’s Gutierrez likely will not be eligible to join U.S.

Diego Gutierrez
Diego Gutierrez will become an American citizen next week, but likely will be ineligible to play for the United States national team because of appearances with Colombia's under-17s.
CHICAGO (Monday, June 19, 2000) -- Diego Gutierrez, originally from Colombia, will be sworn in as an American citizen June 28 in downtown Chicago.

There has been quite a bit of talk about whether the Chicago Fire midfielder will be added to the United States national team by coach Bruce Arena. But in point of fact, there is considerable doubt about whether he is or ever will be eligible to play for the U.S.

Gutierrez, 27, was born in Bogota, Columbia, but his family moved to Miami when he was 17. A year later, Gutierrez's family moved to Kansas City. Gutierrez, who played college soccer at Evansville and then Rockhurst, played in Major League Soccer for the Kansas City Wizards in 1996, sat out 1997 with an injury and has been with the Fire since..

A star youth player, Gutierrez played for the Colombian under-17 and under-20 national teams from August 1987 until January 1990. In 1989 he played for Colombia in the South American Youth Championships.

Under the rules of world governing body FIFA, a player appearing for his country, at any age level beginning at U-17, in an "official" match is no longer eligible to play for any other country. Basically an "official" match is in any sort of FIFA world championship, the qualifying process preceding one, or in certain FIFA-sanctioned confederation competitions, such as the current Euro 2000.

Since the 1989 South American Youth Championships were used to qualify world championship held that year in Scotland, it would seem Guiterrez would be ineligible even though he did not play in Scotland.

At present, the United States Soccer Federation has no comment on Guiterrez's status other than the situation is being investigated.

McBride out 4-8 weeks with cheekbone fracture.

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Columbus forward Brian McBride received the worst-case news today about the cheek fracture he suffered in Saturday’s scoreless draw with the Colorado Rapids.

McBride, who received the news on his 28th birthday, will be out four-to-eight weeks following surgery tomorrow to repair a fractured right cheekbone, an injury incurred late in the first half when he collided with Paul Bravo of the Rapids in pursuit of a ball in the air. It was McBride's first game back after missing three matches while on U.S. national team duty.

Last season, he was out for five games after fracturing his left cheek in a collision with San Jose's Jamie Clark.

He is the Crew's second-leading scorer this season with three goals and four assists, for 10 points in 13 games. On May 27, McBride became the sixth player in MLS history to reach both 30 career goals and 30 career assists.

Earthquakes seek Norwegian

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- The San Jose Earthquakes want MLS to sign a veteran Norwegian striker as their remaining foreign allocation, the team’s general manager Lynne Meterparel local reporters.

She said MLS looking into purchasing Jan-Aage Fjortoft, a 6-foot-4 forward from Norway who plays for Eintracht Frankfort in the German Bundesliga. He has 70 appearances with the Norwegian national team.

"We're looking for a tall target man who can post up in the box and score goals," Meterparel said. "Jan-Aage could be that player."

Reportedly, San Jose is also interested in an unnamed Mexican forward. The team had been interested in Mexican national team player Manuel Abundis, but never appeared for a physical, apparently because of a knee problem. Mexican midfielder Emilio Mora apparently third on the Earthquakes’ wish list.

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