Chris Wondolowski prefers to be the San Jose Earthquakes’ go-to guy. When the team loses, he is prone to shouldering the blame. When they win – usually thanks to a goal or two from him – he’s the type of guy to credit a team effort. The Kiowa tribal member is a true leader in Major League Soccer, where he was named Most Valuable Player back in 2012.
Wondolowski, or ‘Wondo’ to fans, has traveled a long and difficult path to get to where he is today at age 33 – leading the MLS in scoring with seven goals. From overlooked in high school to waiting anxiously for an opportunity in the pros, the league’s fourth all-time scorer has always maintained a confidence that he credits as the key to his success.
ICTMN caught up with Wondo following a 2-0 loss to the Seattle Sounders May 7 in Seattle, and he talked about his greatest life achievement and his favorite pow wow.
You spent time after the game praising a section of ’Quake fans waiting in the crowd. What’s it like to have fans from coast to coast?
It’s great. We love our fans. They’re some of the most loyal, dedicated, knowledgeable fans. We love the passion they show. We try to give them all that we can.
How important is your Kiowa identity to who you are?
Kiowa kind of defines me, it’s my heritage, it’s who am. It plays a very vital role in my life.
What do you consider to be your most important life achievement?
Being married and having two kids now, which kind of puts a perspective on life. I love going home and seeing my girls.
What do you hope to achieve in the remainder of your playing days?
I want to win a championship. I love this club and I think that this club deserves another championship and I’d love to be a part of it.
You took a path from Chico State to becoming an MVP at the professional level. What do you attribute to being the greatest reason for your ascent?
I was a bit of a late bloomer. I think that the stars all kind of aligned. I think confidence does a great thing for you. You always have to have belief in your ability and I did. There’s many different paths to get to your final goal but you know once things start happening and you believe in what you’ve been doing and all the hard work pays off it kind of snowballs into a great thing.
Does your family participate in any traditional aspects of the tribe?
No real traditional aspects. There’s always a huge powwow on Mother’s Day at Stanford [University]. We try to go to those. Grandma always went to those, so it’s pretty cool.
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