40 in 40: Wondo's road to the World Cup
Wondo’s path to a spot on the United States’ 2014 World Cup roster has been the definition of a Cinderella story.
The Danville native grew up playing the sport he loved since the age of 2. From being an all-star at De La Salle High School, he went on to lead the Chico State Wildcats, ending his collegiate career with 34 goals in 89 games.
A fourth-round pick of the San Jose Earthquakes in the 2005 MLS Supplemental Draft, Wondo spent most of his first five professional seasons terrorizing defenses in the now defunct Reserve League. Even in 2010, the year he burst onto the scene with a league-leading 18 goals to capture his first Budweiser Golden Boot, Wondolowski was an unused substitute in the club’s first two games.
That all changed on April 17, 2010 when he started against the New England Revolution after injuries left San Jose short on forwards. He capitalized, scoring the game-winner. One week later, he buried a penalty in a 3-2 loss against Chivas USA. He did it again the following week with a wünder strike to beat the Colorado Rapids 1-0 and again one week after that in a 4-0 drubbing of New York.
Fast forward to 2014 and Wondolowski’s name has the 2012 Volkswagen MLS MVP tied to his name as well as two Budweiser Golden Boots, three MLS Best XI selections, one CONCACAF Gold Cup Golden Boot, 19 national team caps and nine goals for the USA. Four years ago, Wondolowski was barely a starter and now he’s among the most accomplished strikers in the American stable.
Now, he's headed to the international stage to hopefully give the U.S. Men's National Team that extra 'W' they need to compete. Earthquakes faithful can rally around one of the great success stories in league history. After all, he’s our Wondolowski, and he makes us happy.
Some of our favorite images of Wondo on his Road to Brazil:
1. Wondo starting early at the age of 2:
photo graciously provided by Wondo's grandfather, William Elliott
2. That defender had no chance:
3. Is there an extra 'W' on that jersey too?
4. 2013: Wondowlowski happens. Hat trick against Belize in the CONCACAF Gold Cup, earning his Golden Boot honors and prompting him to stitch an extra 'W' on the inside of his collar for each USMNT game thereafter
5. 2014: Scored three of the United States first four goals of 2014 with a brace against South Korea and a back-post finish against Mexico. And voila, #Wondo4Brazil becomes a reality.