Wondolowski ready for a return trip to Houston
Chris Wondolowski dons the blue and black, but still owns a house in Houston.
A member of the Houston Dynamo since the San Jose Earthquakes, Version 1.0, relocated to Texas, Wondolowski finally decided to grow roots and buy a house during the 2009 campaign. Then came that fateful June day when the scrappy striker found out he had been traded to the Quakes.
Wondo, as fans in San Jose endearingly call him, won’t even get a chance to stay in his old digs this weekend when the Quakes travel to face the Dynamo for the first time in 2010. It’s not that he doesn’t want to; it’s that he can’t.
“We just found renters and they’re moving in that weekend,” Wondolowski said.
Housing issues aside, the Quakes leading goal scorer is ready to return to Houston with San Jose in search of three points in a tight MLS playoff race. However, the journey to the Quakes first team didn’t come easy for the four-year Chico State player.
The Earthquakes drafted Wondolowski in the fourth round (41st pick overall) of the 2005 MLS Supplemental Draft. The native of nearby Danville appeared in just two MLS matches that season, logging a total of five minutes.
Wondo found his niche playing for San Jose’s reserve squad, scoring a team-high eight goals in 12 matches.
For the next two seasons, Wondolowski would lead the club’s reserve team in goals. In addition to the immense amount of success he had in the reserve leagues, Wondolowski would make periodic appearances with the Dynamo at the MLS level.
His MLS appearances increased season-by-season. In 2006, he made six appearances, followed by 16 in 2007. Wondolowski believes that the experience he had at the reserve level prepared him for MLS.
“I think the best thing I learned down there was how to be a professional,” Wondolowski said. “The guys in the locker room were such great guys, really took me under their wings and showed me the ropes. (They) just showed me how to bring it each day, day in and day out, at practice (and to) never take a day off. That always translates to the games.”
During the middle of the 2009 season, Wondolowski was traded to the Earthquakes along with a conditional draft pick in the 2010 SuperDraft for forward Cam Weaver. Just like that, Wondolowski was back home.
He freely admits that the franchise relocation at the end of the 2005 season was difficult and largely unwanted.
“Everyone was pretty distraught over it,” Wondolowski said. “No one really wanted to leave San Jose. But, that being said, we had to do it and everyone just tried to make the most of it.”
However, that time spent together formed a lasting bond, making what could have been a solely positive move back home into one that was bittersweet.
“I definitely enjoyed my time in Houston,” Wondolowski said. “The city is hot there but the team is a good group of guys.”
Wondolowski has remained in contact with friends in Houston, both on the team and off. By his count he talks to them about once a week. However, when the whistle blows on Sunday, Wondo will have one thing on his mind.
“I would love to beat them there.”