Wondolowski ready for return trip

San Jose's leading scorer returns to Houston for first time since 09 trade

Chris Wondolowski dons the San Jose 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 he is almost universally called, will not 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 goalscorer (8 goals in MLS play) 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 Earthquakes first team did not 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 led the club’s reserve team in
goals. In addition to the immense amount of success he had in the
reserve leagues, Wondolowski made periodic appearances with the
Dynamo at the MLS level and saw consistent time in international competition. 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 play.
 
“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; they 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. But he freely admits that his original move, 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.”
 
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.”