Soccer wouldn’t be that way out. Fighting would be. Gutierrez began training at 16. By 22, he had turned pro, which he admits came as a surprise to his mom and dad at first. But as Gutierrez realized, there were seeds planted early on.

“It was a surprise, but not really because I got into a lot of streetfights,” he said. “I was always the rough child, and I would get beat up but I would still be coming back for more. It’s kinda scary, but to a point it’s kinda fun. You become a product of your environment. I’m not saying I came from the worst place in the world, but it wasn’t a walk in the part either. I got bullied, I had people punk me out of my seat and tell me to sit on the steps of the school bus. Then I’d get home and tell my parents and my dad would get mad because I let that happen.”

The next day, Gutierrez would go to get some get back from the bully of the minute. Having that fighting spirit ultimately paid off.

“To be where I’m at and be able to help my parents a little bit, it means a lot,” said Gutierrez. “And I’m sure to them it means the world that they raised their kids right.”

It should, and Gutierrez’ journey should be a reminder, especially during Hispanic Heritage Month, that no one should ever forget who came before them. Chris Gutierrez certainly doesn’t.

“You should always embrace who you are and what you are,” he said. “I love who I am, I love what I represent, and you have to give respect to the people that came before you, because they were the ones who paved the way for you to be where you’re at. To me, life is like a big blueprint. You leave behind a legacy for others to continue building off of. To give respect to the people before us, that’s a big thing because 50 years from now or a hundred years from now, I will be an ancestor for somebody else and to be able to give respect to the things I’ve tried to do and I’ve accomplished, that’s a beautiful thing and that’s a great thing.”