The Chicago Fire announced this afternoon that Indiana University senior Jeremiah Gutjahr has signed a Homegrown Player contract with the club. He’s now the 11th Homegrown signing in the club’s history and the third currently on the roster, along with Grant Lillard and Djordje Mihailovic.
Gutjahr (pronounced “Goot-yar”) cut his teeth with the Indiana Fire Academy as a teenager, earning the captain’s armband with the U15/16 and U17/18 Indiana Fire Juniors squads, and has stayed with with club’s development system even through college. He logged some minutes with the Chicago Fire PDL squad in 2016 while in his sophomore year at IU.
In his senior year with the Hoosiers, the 21 year old midfielder/defender made 24 appearances (23 starts), logging over 1,600 minutes and tallying a goal and an assist. He was instrumental in making Indiana one of the strongest defenses in the Big Ten, posting 15 clean sheets in 2018 and allowing just 13 goals. Gutjahr helped lead #1 seed IU to the 2018 Big Ten Tournament championship lat November, beating #3 ranked Michigan 3-0.
In the official press release, Fire president and general manager Nelson Rodriguez talked up Gutjahr’s signing, citing both his versatility on the pitch and his sense of character off of it.
“Jeremiah made a positive impression while in our environment a few years back, and we monitored his progress at Indiana University closely,” Rodriguez said. “He is of the highest character and, simply, an effective player who can fill several roles.”
Head coach Veljko Paunovic was similarly bullish on the new Homegrown signing.
“We’re very excited to have Jeremiah with us, and we look forward to working with him in the upcoming season. He has good examples in front of him to follow, and we believe he has all that he needs to succeed in our environment.”