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Vancouver Whitecaps sign Canadian-Chilean left back Cristian Gutierrez

He has represented Chile at the youth level but remains eligible for Canada.

Vancouver players celebrate with Brek Shea after he scored a goal during the Vancouver Whitecaps at Orlando City Soccer MLS game at Orlando City Stadium on Saturday, August 26, 2017. Vancouver won the game 2-1. (Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel)

The Vancouver Whitecaps have bolstered its defense with a new left back signing from Chile. Cristián Gutiérrez, a Canadian-born Chilean, has joined the Whitecaps on a free transfer, the club announced Thursday.

Gutiérrez, 22, arrives from Colo-Colo, a club in Chile’s first division, where he played for the past five years with loans to Chilean clubs Unión Española and Huachipato in 2017 and 2018. He has 52 appearances in Chile’s Primera División and 26 Copa Chile appearances.

“Cristián is a young left back who has some experience playing in Chile at the highest level,” Whitecaps head coach Marc Dos Santos said in a statement. “We believe that Cristián will continue to grow and develop at our club. We are very happy to add him to our roster.”

Gutiérrez’s contract with the Whitecaps takes him through 2021 with options for 2022 and 2023.

He was born in Greenfield Park, Quebec and moved to Santiago, Chile at the age of three, where he has gone on to represent Chile at the youth level but remains eligible for a switch to the Canadian national team. His last international action was in 2017, when he represented Chile at the U-20 Sudamericano.

“Cristián was looking for a new opportunity and we are excited to bring him to Vancouver,” Whitecaps sporting director Axel Schuster said in a statement. “He has the four cornerstones we look for in a player, he is fully aware of the challenge in front of him, and he is excited to continue his development in his native country.”

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