Wondolowski, Bernardez, Salinas win club awards
SAN JOSE, Calif. – The San Jose Earthquakes unveiled their team awards this week during a banquet presented by Franco Uomo, the official fashion designer of the club. The recipients included: Chris Wondolowski for Most Valuable Player, Victor Bernardez for Defender of the Year and Shea Salinas for Humanitarian of the Year. Each award winner received a free tailored suit courtesy of Franco Uomo.
Wondolowski has put together one of the finest campaigns in MLS history. He leads the Budweiser Golden Boot race with 26 goals, nine more than his next-closest pursuer, and more than doubled his career high with seven assists. The gaudy goal total is one off of Roy Lassiter’s all-time MLS record for a single season, a mark that has stood since the league began in 1996. Earlier in the year, Wondolowski broke the MLS mark for game-winning goals with a running total of 11, two more than the previous record he shared with former LA Galaxy striker Carlos Ruiz. In addition to timely strikes, he managed a staggering 12 goals in 11 games against playoff-bound Western Conference opponents. He has racked up two hat tricks and six multi-goal games, two short of the league record for a single season. For his efforts, Wondolowski has been recognized as MLS Player of the Week four times and MLS Player of the Month on three occasions – the first player in league history to pick up three or more monthly honors in the same season. His efforts have helped the Quakes break a the club record for points in a season. He also netted the MLS’ first goal in the AT&T MLS All-Star Game, a 3-2 MLS victory over Chelsea FC.
Bernardez signed with the Earthquakes on Dec. 21, 2011 and has since been a crucial part of San Jose’s back line. Despite an attack-minded approach, which has translated into one of the league’s most prolific goal-scoring outputs since 1996, Bernardez has helped the Earthquakes to a No. 8 ranking in goals allowed. The Honduran national team center back has been on the field for each of the Earthquakes’ seven shutouts in 2012. The club is 13-4-6 with him on the field, including a 7-0-1 slate against the next three-best teams in the Western Conference – Real Salt Lake, Seattle Sounders FC and the LA Galaxy. He scored a clutch goal to spark a dramatic 4-3 comeback against the LA Galaxy on June 30 at Stanford Stadium, a match that drew reviews as the best in MLS regular season history. He also scored a brilliant free kick winner against Chivas USA on Sept. 2 at Buck Shaw Stadium. Additionally, his lone assist of the year was a crucial one, a driven ball toward goal that Wondolowski tapped in for a 2-1 win against Sounders FC at CenturyLink Field on Sept. 23. Bernardez has been a mainstay on the Honduran national team during the year, suiting up in each of Los Catrachos’ 2014 World Cup Qualifiers.
Since February, Salinas has gone out to 18 community appearances, including visits to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and a preschool for autistic kids. He spoke to kids about the importance of community service, visiting children in the pediatrics unit at both Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital and Kaiser Permanente in Santa Clara and when he suffered a pulled hamstring in August, he sat with a group of high-needs children while they watched an Earthquakes practice. He has also been a spokesperson for the club’s Get Earthquakes Fit Program, presented by Kaiser Permanente; the fitness regimen is a five-week program designed for third- and fourth-grade students.