New contract puts more pressure on SJ's Wondolowski

Yallop: He'll feel the weight of being one of highest-paid Quakes

Chris Wondolowski rues a missed chance.

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MLS’ most prolific goal scorer is finally getting paid as such.

But beyond a thicker wallet, what does it mean that San Jose Earthquakes forward Chris Wondolowski, last year’s Golden Boot winner with 18 goals, received a new contract that included a 365% increase, making him one of the Quakes highest-paid players?

“He’s going to feel the weight of that, not only the money but the amount of goals he had last year,” coach Frank Yallop told MLSsoccer.com.

The Quakes could have held Wondolowski to the three remaining years on his previous deal, but made plans weeks before last season’s end to reward the Bay Area native. The new deal was signed at the end of January and announced this week.

“It’s very exciting,” Wondolowski told MLSsoccer.com as the Quakes returned after three exhibition matches during six days of training in Southern California. “It’s nice to have a little bit of stability. That’s always been the dream.”

Wondolowski, who scored seven goals off the bench in his first five MLS seasons, said that the new contract won’t add any pressure to perform.

“For me, I’ve always had the same mentality: I’ve put pressure on myself from under-9s until now,” he said. “Once you step inside the lines, you’re not thinking who makes what, it’s just that you want to get a win.”

Despite voicing his concerns, Yallop expects 2011 to look a lot like 2010 for Wondolowski.

“I think he’ll be fine,” Yallop said. “We just want him to have a good season, no matter how many goals that is.” 

Geoff Lepper covers the Earthquakes for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at sanjosequakes@gmail.com. On Twitter: @sjquakes