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Kiowa Striker Chris Wondolowski Seeks World Cup Spot for U.S.

Kiowa Striker Seeks World Cup Spot
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His soccer resume already includes plenty of individual and team accomplishments. Chris Wondolowski, however, has yet to fulfill a goal—representing the United States in a World Cup. He's hoping to have that chance at this year's quadrennial tournament. The 32-nation, month-long spectacle, which will be held in Brazil, begins on June 12.

"That's the ultimate prize," Wondolowski said of the World Cup. "It's what you play for. And what you live for."

Wondolowski, a member of the Kiowa tribe, undoubtedly boosted his chances of being named to the U.S. national squad that will compete in Brazil with a performance earlier this month. The 31-year-old striker scored both of his team's goals as the U.S. blanked South Korea 2-0 at an exhibition game held in Carson, California on February 1.

"First and foremost, it was great to get the win," Wondolowski said. "To be able to get a couple of goals certainly made it better."

Wondolowski is waiting to hear whether he will be one of the 23 American players selected to participate in the club's next contest, set for March 5, against host Ukraine.

Wondolowski had been one of 26 U.S. players who had been invited to an American team World Cup preparation camp in January, which culminated with the match against South Korea. A portion of the camp was held in California, while the remainder was staged in Brazil, to give prospective team members some hints of what to expect come World Cup time.

But this preparation camp primarily featured players who toil in North America; in Major League Soccer (MLS). The Americans' final World Cup roster though will also feature numerous individuals currently playing in various European leagues.

Wondolowski estimates that there are as many as 35 players still being considered for the team's World Cup roster. This includes several strikers toiling overseas who presumably would have an edge over Wondolowski as they play in higher-calibre leagues.

"We all have different things we bring to the table," he said of the strikers seeking to be named to the World Cup roster.

Though he would dearly love to be included this time around, Wondolowski said his dreams of participating in a World Cup would not be dashed forever should he not be named to the final U.S. club.

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"In four more years there's another World Cup," he said of the 2018 tournament, which will be held in Russia.

Since making his debut with the U.S. national squad in January of 2011, Wondolowski has played 18 international matches. He's netted eight goals in those appearances, including his pair against South Korea.

Wondolowski has certainly made people take notice of his abilities in recent years. He was chosen as the MVP of the MLS in 2012 after scoring a league-high 27 goals in 32 games. He also captured the league's Golden Boot Award, presented annually to the top goal scorer in 2010, when he netted 18 goals in 28 matches.

Chris Wondolowski

Wondolowski is also a star with the San Jose Earthquakes. The Earthquakes kick off their 2014 MLS regular season on March 15 with a home game against Real Salt Lake.

Wondolowski is hoping to get off to a torrid start this season as national team officials will be keeping close tabs on all players they are still considering taking to Brazil.

"They'll definitely be watching me," he said.

Wondolowski is heading into his sixth season with San Jose. His objective with the Earthquakes in 2014 is rather straightforward.

"To win a championship," he said. "That's the one and only goal."

Wondolowski has yet to capture a MLS championship with the Earthquakes. But he was a member of the Houston Dynamo when they won back-to-back league crowns in 2006 and 2007.