Chris Wondolowski, known as “Wondo” to his fans, was the top scorer in US Major League Soccer in 2012, and still retains his title as one of the nation’s best strikers. This year is his first World Cup appearance.
Here’s what you need to know about one of America’s best players.
1. Wondo Is Tied For The MLS Single-Season Scoring Record
In May 2012, Wondo finished the regular season with his 27th goal, tying with the MLS record in the 24th minute of the game. The record was previously held by Roy Lassiter, who achieved the feat for Tampa Bay in 1996. Wondo’s record-tying kick was a penalty kick that sunk into the lower left corner of the net in a game against the Portland Timbers. The game ended before Wondo had a chance to net his 28th—a feat that he has yet to achieve. He also holds the record as San Jose’s all-time leading goal scorer.
2. He Was Voted Major League Soccer’s MVP In 2012 AND Received The Golden Boot
This has a lot to do with his record-breaking performance that season, but Wondo walked away with a whopping 91 percent of MLS club management votes, 97 percent of media votes, and 71 percent of player votes—a commanding win, to say the least. That same year he took home the Golden Boot award for being the league’s top-scorer, becoming the first MLS player to be the league top-scorer for three consecutive years. Unlike some footballers, though, Wondo seems pretty modest. He told the Associated Press that while he understood that the Golden Boot was an individual award, he likes “to think of it as a team award, because I wouldn’t be here without those guys.”
3. He’s Been Dubbed Soccer’s “Mr. October”
It’s usually reserved for baseball players who take their team to the playoffs after the regular season ends, but may fans call for Wondo to appropriate the title when it comes to soccer. In 2011, Wondo tied the record with Dwayne De Rosario and Chistian Gomez for the number two all-time career goals scored in October. Wondo doesn’t claim it’s cosmic or anything, however. He told MLSsoccer.com that goal scoring “comes in streaks. There’s no rhyme or reason to it… I went through a dry spell in the middle of the year, and have just been fortunate in October the last two years.”
4. It Took Wondolowski Seven Years To Get Big In The Big Leagues
Unlike several other massive football / soccer stars making an appearance at the World Cup this year, Wondo didn’t hit the ground running when he got started. He was drafted in 2005 by the San Jose Earthquakes, but scored no goals that year and didn’t play in either the SuperLiga or the Champions League. He spent the next four years playing for the Houston Dynamo, and then returned to the Earthquakes for the 2009 season. He didn’t start making major waves in the sport until his record-breaking 2012 season.
5. He Wears An Extra ‘W’ On His Jersey
In 2013, in a Gold Cup match in Portugal against Belize, somebody made the best spelling error in soccer history. Wondo wore the misspelled jersey (Wondowlowski instead of Wondolowski) without realizing—in fact only when he saw of a photo of it on the Internet did he see the error. He scored a hat trick that game, however, and decided that maybe the extra letter was good luck. Now he always wears an extra ‘W’ on the inside of his jersey in hopes that the additional consonant continues to be a good luck charm.