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Soccer Dreams


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When Chris Wondolowski was playing soccer as a young boy in Danville, he dreamed of making the pros. This year, his dream became reality: Wondolowski is finishing up his rookie season as a midfielder with the San Jose Earthquakes.

“I started playing at four or five years old—as far back as I can remember—and I just fell in love with soccer,” the 22-year-old says. “My dad had played at UC Berkeley, and he taught me the game.”

During his Mustang Soccer days, Wondolowski’s under-11 and under-12 teams both went to the state finals, the first Mustang teams to get that far. “We lost both games though,” he says with a laugh. “It seemed devastating at the time.”

Although his father coached soccer at San Ramon High, Wondolowski was a star at De La Salle High in Concord. “We played San Ramon twice. I scored goals in both games. But San Ramon beat us both times, so Dad has bragging rights,” he says.

Wondolowski has some bragging rights of his own as well, however. He led De La Salle to a North Coast Section Title in 2001. He went on to Chico State University, where his team went to the NCAA Division II championship in 2003.

Wondolowski says transitioning to the pros isn’t easy. At press time he hadn’t yet played in a game, having spent the year adjusting to the pro game’s quicker pace during practice. “But it’s fun playing with guys who know the game,” he says. “It makes you step up your level of play because they’re so good.”

Still a Mustang at heart (he coaches a Danville team three days a week), Wondolowski advises up-and-coming soccer stars to take advantage of the great soccer climate and coaches here. “Just keep playing,” he tells them. “Follow your dreams and don’t give up, because anything can happen.”

The Earthquakes play Real Salt Lake on Saturday, October 8, in San Jose. For tickets, call (925) 685-8497 or go to www.sjearthquakes.com .

 

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