PROGRAMMING NOTE: The Earthquakes take on the Houston Dynamo at AT&T Park Saturday at 2 p.m. Watch the MLS action on Comcast SportsNet California.
In 2010, Chris Wondolowski had a breakout season, winning the MLS Golden Boot. The Danville native led the league with 19 goals in 32 games. To put things into perspective, he had just 11 tallies in the previous five seasons. A year later, it's still the same story: Wondo led the league in scoring during 2011, surpassing household names as Thierry Henry and Landon Donovan.
This year, Wondolowski already has a goal in the opener. And every subsequent time he finds the back of the net, it will cost him.
Chris saw an article in the San Francisco Chronicle last summer, said Rob Cann, Founder of Street Soccer USA. He emailed me, and he said, How can I get involved?
Wondolowski has since become an ambassador for the program, which gives homeless folks in San Francisco a new outlook through soccer. Teams of men and women of all ages practice and compete against each other in a modified version of soccer, played on asphalt and indoor locations all around the city.
San Joses premiere striker will donate 1,000 for every goal he scores this season. In addition, hes hoping more will join in on the cause.
I think it really makes a difference, said Wondolowski. And thats the key. I love giving back to the community, especially my home in the Bay Area. Ive gone to one practice and it got me hooked.
The 29 year old Wondolowski says beyond the physical benefits of playing soccer, participation gives these less fortunate men and women someone to rely on.
They have teammates, and a family organization where they can really lean on each other, said Wondolowski. I know I lean on my teammates just about every day. Theyve been there whenever Im in need. And they pick me up in the games. I think its the same thing here. Camaraderie is a big deal, and it goes a long way.
Being one of soccers brightest, rising stars, Wondolowski is the perfect candidate to lead awareness for the cause.
He has a platform, said Cann. The fact that he reached out to us and said, How can I help? That says tremendous things about him.
Its not often an athlete will say this, but Chris is hoping to be writing penalty checks, all season long.
Im hoping to be giving out a lot of money, said Wondolowski. The more money I give out the happier Ill be. Its a win-win for both situations.
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