Chris Wondolowski becomes San Jose's Designated Player
The San Jose Earthquakes announced today that the club has signed forward Chris Wondolowski to a new contract, making the Danville native the second Designated Player in club history. Per league and team policy, terms of the deals were not disclosed.
Wondolowski, 30, is the reigning Volkswagen MLS Most Valuable Player after tying the league record for goals in a season with 27 in 2012. He has led the league in goals for three consecutive years, earning three MLS Best XI selections in the process. The two-time MLS All-Star is also the all-time league leader in goals per 90 minutes among players with at least 100 appearances with a 0.64 clip.
Following breakout campaigns in 2010 and 2011, Wondolowski compiled one of the best seasons ever by an MLS player in 2012 and was rewarded with the Volkswagen MLS MVP. He also took home the Budweiser Golden Boot and was an MLS Best XI selection. Wondolowski scored 27 goals and more than doubled his career high in assists with seven to lead his club to their second Supporters’ Shield trophy. His goal total tied an MLS mark that has stood since the league’s inaugural season in 1996. He also broke the MLS record for game-winning goals with 11, two more than the previous mark held by himself and LA’s Carlos Ruiz.
“This is a tremendous honor,” Wondolowski said. “I want to thank John Doyle and our ownership group for getting this deal done. As my hometown team, I couldn’t be more excited to sign a Designated Player contract with the Earthquakes. These last few years have been amazing and I look forward to continuing my career in San Jose.”
Wondolowski began his career with the Earthquakes in 2005 after being selected in the fourth round (No. 41 overall) of that year’s MLS Supplemental Draft. He led San Jose in Reserve League goals that first season, but made just two appearances with the first team. Wondolowski stuck with the club after its move to Houston in 2006, scoring four goals in 37 appearances during his four seasons in Texas.
The Earthquakes returned to MLS in 2008 and re-acquired the De La Salle High School product on June 9, 2009 in a trade that send forward Cam Weaver to Houston in exchange for Wondolowski and the Dynamo’s second round pick in the 2010 MLS SuperDraft. Four years after the trade, Houston remains the lone team – including San Jose – that Wondolowski has yet to score against.
“We’re thrilled to have Wondo locked up for the long term,” said Earthquakes general manager John Doyle. “I’m also happy that our ownership stepped forward to make this deal happen. Wondo’s contract is well deserved after the hard work and success he has had on the field.”
Wondolowski scored three goals and had one assist in 14 games for the Earthquakes in 2009, setting the stage for a mercurial rise. He burst onto the scene in 2010, scoring a goal in each of his first four appearances after beginning the season fifth on the depth chart at forward. He capped that memorable season with 10 goals in the club’s last eight games to lead the Earthquakes to their first MLS Cup Playoff appearance since rejoining the league in 2008; he also surpassed LA Galaxy forward Edson Buddle in the final week of the regular season to earn the Budweiser Golden Boot. Wondolowski’s 18 goals accounted for 52.9 percent of San Jose’s season total, the second-largest percentage in MLS history.
“Chris has been a fantastic player for this club over the last three years and this new contract is a just reward,” said Earthquakes head coach Frank Yallop. “He’s been the top goal scorer in our league over the last three years, works hard and does all the right things on and off the field. We’re very excited to have him in the fold long-term here in San Jose.”
In 2011, Wondolowski would repeat his success with a league-leading 16 goals and his first U.S. Men’s National Team appearance. His first cap came on Jan. 22, 2011 against Chile. To date, Wondolowski has made nine appearances for the USMNT, the most recent of which was a Jan. 29, 2013 start against Canada at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston.
Wondolowski is the all-time club leader in goals (64) and game-winning goals (26). He also holds the MLS mark for goals in a three-year span (61).