Daniel Gutierrez was born in Medellin, Colombia, where he learned to love and develop a passion for the game of soccer. He moved to South Florida and played both high school and club soccer for many years. After high school, he decided he wanted to focus on coaching full-time. He worked for the Red Bulls Youth program in 2013, and most recently served as the head coach for the U-15 United Futbol Academy team in Georgia. Daniel joined Red Bulls Academy in August of 2019, and currently serves as the U-12’s head coach. The U-12’s finished second at the Villareal Yellow Cup and third in the MLS Generation Adidas tournament.
What is your soccer background?
I grew up in Medellin, Colombia, which was a huge part of my love for the game due to how ingrained the sport is in our culture. I remember going to matches with my father and seeing the passion fans had for their teams and how important the performance of their teams was to people’s lives. I played in high school and on multiple club teams in South Florida. At the age of 18, I began coaching for my high school team as an assistant coach. After that experience, I wanted to focus on coaching full-time and began getting in as many coaching courses as I was able to join. I have been coaching full time ever since then.
What motivated you to get involved with coaching?
Two key factors: My love for the sport that came from my upbringing in Colombia and a coach that I had as a kid that became my mentor when I began my coaching career. Having him and other mentors guiding myself through the challenges a young coach faces when he starts his journey made me fully submersed into coaching.
How do you see your role?
As the U-12’s coach, it is about growing the foundation of our academy with players coming from our Pre-Academy program or outside the club. The first thing we do is instill in the players what it means to be a Red Bulls Academy player and how our style of play is connected to the strong mindset and self-belief they all need to have on and off the field.
What upcoming events are you excited about?
Not an event in general, but excited about continuing to build from the work we have done in the fall. Our objectives now are to place the players in more challenging situations and to have them learn from those hardships.
What is the one soccer session that has impacted your teams the most?
Each session has different objectives that players will be impacted by. I would say attacking transition sessions are always great for them due to how many different factors they can have. They provide players opportunities on goal, while giving them moments to express themselves on the ball, they are also connected to our philosophy of playing fast in attack and being aggressive to recover the ball.
What are your overall thoughts on how your team performed in the fall season?
I was extremely happy with the entire group of players. All of them bought into both our training/playing philosophy and it showed in the improvement we made individually and collectively throughout the fall season. A key example of this was shown during our matches, whether we played a top-level or a mid-level team, we always played at the highest level we were capable of.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Working with players that have aspirations to play for our first team and being part of helping them maximize their full potential. Also, being part of an organization that has a clear identity on and off the field which provides everyone involved a great sense of purpose.
What is the most important lesson you want your players to learn?
The most important lesson I want the players to learn is to enjoy the process of growth. I want them to enjoy the day-to-day and focus on improvement rather than on accolades or results. When they add the time and sacrifice, they have spent on the process there will be very good player at the end of it. I also want them to understand that challenges and hardships on and off the field will better prepared them as people. Embrace the tough moments and add them as part of your process of growth.
What is your most memorable soccer moment as a coach?
I wouldn’t say I have one particular moment however every time I get to meet a player that I worked with when they were young kids and seeing how they have grown into young adults with great character traits it becomes a memorable moment for me. Knowing that, the lessons they learned on the field were a part of who they became as people.
The U-12’s posted some great results this season, especially coming in second in the Villarreal Yellow Cup and third in the GA Cup, how important were those tournaments to your team?
These events were invaluable to the players and the staff. It provided the players an opportunity to play some of the best players in the United States and Spain while being placed in different football scenarios that only high-level youth players will place you in. As a staff, we know we have talented players, but it helps you measure where your talented players are in connection with top players from different leagues in the U.S and Spain.
What would you say to parents and players who are thinking about joining Red Bulls academy?
If you have the opportunity to be a part of the Red Bulls Family, it is a great place for players to develop their football ability while working on becoming better people in the process.