Chris Wondolowski's ascent from developmental player to Designated Player is complete.
Major League Soccer's reigning MVP and Golden Boot winner signed a DP deal with the San Jose Earthquakes Tuesday, securing an improved contract as a reward for his unmatched production over the last three seasons.
Wondolowski tied Roy Lassiter's single-season goal mark by netting 27 times last season. In the last three seasons, Wondolowski has tallied a league-best 61 goals in the last three seasons, winning the Golden Boot in 2010 with 18 goals and tying for the league lead with 16 in 2011 leading up to his historic 2012 campaign.
According to Sports Illustrated, Wondolowski, a Northern California native, will make twice as much as the $300,000 he earned last season in 2013 and is on a four-year deal, the first three years of which are guaranteed.
"This is a tremendous honor," Wondolowski said in a team statement. "I want to thank (general manager) John Doyle and our ownership group for getting this deal done. As my hometown team, I couldn’t be more excited to sign a Designated Player contract with the Earthquakes. These last few years have been amazing and I look forward to continuing my career in San Jose."
Wondolowski, 30, entered the league as an unheralded developmental player prospect from Chico State University in 2005, when he joined the first incarnation of the Earthquakes through the MLS Supplemental Draft. The club moved to Houston the next year and Wondolowski followed but played sparingly during his three-plus seasons as a member of the Dynamo and tallied four goals in 37 games.
Wondolowski and a draft pick (which wound up being 2012 MLS All-Star Steven Beitashour) were dealt to the new San Jose franchise in exchange for forward Cam Weaver during the 2009 season. Wondolowski scored three goals in 14 games to cap the campaign before embarking on his storybook run as the league's top marksman.
"Chris has been a fantastic player for this club over the last three years and this new contract is a just reward,” Earthquakes coach Frank Yallop said. "He’s been the top goal scorer in our league over the last three years, works hard and does all the right things on and off the field. We’re very excited to have him in the fold long-term here in San Jose."