San Jose Earthquakes goal scorer extraordinaire Chris Wondolowski has certainly become a better-known known around Major League Soccer. That tends to happen when you smash club records and match league scoring marks previously stamped “unreachable” at some content production desks.
We know about his indomitable way near goal – and we usually tie a huge blue ribbon around that one. Rightly so.
We know about the plateau that keeps “Wonder Wondo” bound to something that resembles international purgatory; definitely talented enough for U.S. national team consideration, but never quite able to seize full advantage of those opportunities. Indeed, U.S. Soccer supporters do love them some Wondo debate on this matter.
But fewer fans know of the man’s Native American heritage, which helps defines Major League Soccer’s reigning MVP and the San Jose Earthquakes newly minted Designated Player. He says it’s a big part of his history and culture.
Best part of the piece for me (I probably should have known this; I suppose his shirt has always been on during our locker room chats and such): He has a tattoo across his chest displaying his Kiowa name, “Bau Daigh.” That means, “Warrior coming over the hill.”
As tattoos go, it’s a fair amount more original and personally, culturally relevant than another barbed wire across the bicep bit.
Even if American at large has yet to make Wondolowski’s a household name, he’s a familiar face within the Native American community. From the USA Today story:
The Native American news media has taken notice. Soccer has traditionally lived in the shadows of baseball, track and field, and boxing amongst fans and youth participants on reservations. The sports news website NDNsports.com followed Wondolowski’s hunt for the MLS scoring record with regular news stories. Another news site, the Indian Country Media Network, named Wondolowski the world’s best Native American athlete for his various scoring achievements since 2010.