As the Bay Area native’s legendary status continues to grow, his father’s advice still resonates.
Chris Wondolowski at the new Tetra Hotel in Sunnyvale
When a sports team names a street after a player— even before the player retires—that’s a hallowed statement. Such was the case last spring when the San Jose Earthquakes superstar Chris Wondolowski watched as the team renamed the street previously known as Champions Way to Wondo Way. “It’s an amazing honor,” said Wondolowski at the time. “I always have and always will be part of the San Jose community. It’s who I am. It’s amazing to now be permanently intertwined with it.”
Wondolowski, who attended De La Salle High School and was a star at Chico State, holds the MLS record for career goals and game-winning goals. He’s also a five-time All Star selection and two-time Golden Boot Award winner. On his way to play a weekend match against Nashville in June, we caught up with the native son everyone knows as Wondo.
Greatest thing anyone ever told you about competing in sports? On my first day as a professional, my dad told me to work my butt off and keep my mouth shut.
Who do you most admire in sports right now? Steph Curry. In addition to being a huge Dubs fan and fan of all Bay Area sports in general, I’m also very impressed by how Steph has revolutionized the game of basketball. He also does so much for communities in the Bay Area and empowers women in sports.
What would people be most surprised to learn about you? I was recruited more for track than I was for soccer. I ran a 4:15 mile in high school. Chico State University, a Division II school, was one of the only schools that showed interest in me as a soccer player out of high school.
Favorite thing about growing up in the Bay Area? The weather and the ability to be outdoors all year long, whether on the lake in the summer or the snow on the mountains in the winter.
If you hadn’t become a pro soccer player, what would you be doing? I was planning to become an elementary school teacher. I would have also wanted to coach to remain close to the game.