March 6, 2009
By John Philip Wyllie
A third place Mesa League finish behind powerhouse Chula Vista and Otay Ranch and a 10-9-4 regular season record was good enough to qualify the Bonita Barons for the CIF playoffs, but for junior outside midfielder Marco Gutierrez the 2008-09 season was mostly just frustrating.
“It was unfortunate that Marco got hurt because he is a great player and we really could have used him. He plays on the right side of the midfield for us and he has a great work ethic and determination. He hates to lose and really gets after it,” according to veteran Baron Coach Jason Murphy. “When he was healthy he was great skill-wise. He had a bunch of assists for us and he was up and down the field all day long. Even when he was injured, he was at practice all the time supporting his teammates. I expect good things from him next year. In fact, he will probably be our team captain.”
Gutierrez is hoping for better luck in the injury department next season.
“Getting hurt midway through the season was horrible,” Gutierrez said. “Sitting on the bench watching all the other guys having fun wasn’t much fun for me. And it was very frustrating trying to play with my ankle injury. I sprained it and it got really painful and swollen. A lot of the time all I could do was support the team (from the bench).”
Unlike most high school soccer players, Gutierrez was first introduced to organized indoor soccer before he ever played in a league on grass.
“I used to live in Tijuana. When I was five years old my neighbor, who was a coach, invited me and a few other neighborhood kids to play soccer at an indoor stadium in T.J.”
He found that he had a natural affinity for the sport and it is still number one with him even though he also competes on the school cross country and track teams.
Gutierrez hasn’t forgotten his Mexican roots. He supports both the UNAM Pumas and the Mexican National Team.
“Andres Guardado, Mexico’s right midfielder, is naturally my favorite player since we both play the same position,” Gutierrez said.
While Mexico will always own a piece of his heart, he has done extremely well on this side of the border as well.
“When I was in the first grade we moved here and I started playing for the Bonita Rebels and everything just took off from there. I have played club soccer since I was very small (getter better with each passing year). Now I play for the Chula Vista Pumas.”
His success on the field has been surpassed by his excellence in the classroom. Gutierrez has never failed to gain an “A” in any class he has taken since middle school. That makes him a candidate to be the school’s valedictorian next year.
“After I graduate I would like to attend M.I.T. and become an electrical engineer,” Gutierrez said. He credits his parents with much of his success.
“My parents were the ones that introduced me to soccer and I get a lot of support from them and my friends. They have always encouraged me to be the best that I can be.”
With a father that is an optometrist and a mother that is a dentist Gutierrez apparently inherited not only a strong will to succeed, but some pretty awesome genes as well.