Major League Soccer can’t call off this transaction.
USL Championship side Charlotte Independence announced Friday that American defender and Hermann Trophy winner Andrew Gutman will join the club on loan from Scottish side Celtic FC for the 2019 season.
Gutman, 22, has been training with the club since Feb. 8.
“I’m excited to join the Independence,” Gutman said in a statement. “While I’m here I want to contribute as much as I can. I want to do everything I can to help the team win. Being a professional brings new goals and new challenges, so I’m putting the Hermann Trophy behind me and trying to achieve new goals.”
Visits like these really put into perspective on what our platform can do for people….Congrats Liam on kicking cancers butt!🙌🏽⚽️ https://t.co/vRVkXC0ZIh
— Andrew Gutman (@_andrewgutman) February 22, 2019
The announcement of this transaction comes about three weeks after MLS vetoed Gutman’s loan to Nashville SC. Nashville agreed to terms with Celtic and announced the move, but less than two days later the club released a statement that said “MLS does not support the transaction,” and Nashville opted to not proceed with the loan.
Nashville will compete in the USL Championship in 2019, but will be an MLS club in 2020. The club has already signed players to MLS contracts.
What complicated Gutman’s move to Nashville was that he’s a Chicago Fire academy product and the club still holds his MLS rights. An MLS team wanting to sign Gutman, or bring him in on loan, would have to acquire his rights from the Fire.
Chicago offered Gutman a homegrown contract, but he turned it down. Sources told Pro Soccer USA earlier this month that the Fire were not involved in Gutman’s loan to Nashville falling through. Representative from the Fire and Nashville declined to comment.
Since Charlotte does not currently have an affiliation with MLS, the league doesn’t have jurisdiction to step in on this loan.
Gutman played in the Fire’s academy from 2012 to 2015 and then embarked on a college career with the Indiana Hoosiers. He started every match he played in at Indiana, was named Big Ten Defender of the year, and racked up 20 goals and 17 assists. As a senior, he helped the Hoosiers reach the College Cup semifinals.
After Indiana, Gutman went on trial with Celtic’s rival, Glasgow Rangers, but he didn’t sign there and instead inked a three-and-a-half-year deal with Celtic.
Gutty goal. pic.twitter.com/bEwq5Ik4pX
— Charlotte Independence (@CLTIndependence) February 22, 2019
Charlotte’s head coach, Jim McGuinness, worked with Celtic earlier this decade as an assistant coach performance consultant.
“It’s absolutely fantastic to get Andrew,” McGuinness said in a statement. “He’s everything that we’re looking for, with his energy, his dynamic ability, and his attacking mentality. You want guys with a good attitude and a natural work ethic and I think he’s got all those things.”
Gutman has already joined Charlotte and is training with the club.
“My goal is to get back to Celtic,” Gutman said. “Having Jim here, he knows the Celtic way very well. I’m excited to learn under him, so I’m looking forward to getting the season going.”
The Independence will begin their USL Championship regular season on March 15 at home versus Indy Eleven.