From a father’s standpoint, 99 goals in a professional soccer career creates three issues in your mind that are really hard to get your head around. First, the fact that your son has played soccer for a living long enough to score that many goals. That was my dream for me, and just about any boy’s dream for himself, and now a dream come true for Chris. Truly a blessed career. Second is the fact that the 100 goal milestone is now 1 minute, 1 game, 1000 minutes, 20 games, or even a season away. In fact, it could never happen – this same guy who is now a Top Ten MLS Goal Scorer of All Time – netted only 2 in his first four seasons that included 8 starts and more than 600 minutes of playing time.
But, as the best pure-forward that every played in Major League Soccer (Taylor Twellman) says from time-to-time … ‘right place, right time’. It would appear that there actually is something to ‘being in the right place at the right time’ and doing it 99 times is probably more than a collection of lucky moments.
I should point out that 99 goals do not happen by one person being in the right place at the right time … you need a coaching staff and 27 other guys on the team to make that particular place and time a goal-scoring opportunity.
Following my son for 11 seasons has been a magical experience. When I think about the fact that he started by signing a contract that paid him less than $1000 per month, there is something to be said for following your passion and pursuing your dream.
This has surpassed the wildest father’s dream that could have ever been dreamt. I saw two of my sons playing together with the Houston Dynamo (of course that was early Sunday mornings in Reserve Games … but pretty cool nonetheless). I have been able to see him play in person in just about every MLS City over the past 11 years. I went from (pre-soccer) not liking Houston to absolutely loving the city and the people (that alone was something that I would have never predicted). My favorite moment is a night in Charleston when a goal in stoppage time tied the game for the Houston Dynamo against the Charleston Battery in an Open Cup Game. That goal was scored by my son Stephen and his brother Chris was the first to jump on top of him in celebration. That’s a pretty cool dad experience.
When Chris was drafted by the Earthquakes ... he found out when he was walking on campus at college in between classes. He found out from a long-time friend who had also been drafted by the Earthquakes. He drove home from college, began to try-out, ended up getting a roster spot, and started his career. Only to have his world change significantly when in December after his first season in San Jose he was told that he could move to Houston if he wanted to – and try to gain a roster spot the next season in Houston. So he did … but … without the best thing that ever happened to him – his future wife Lindsey stayed in California to get additional education and teaching credentials.
Fortunately for Chris, Lindsey eventually followed him to Houston and they got married. They bought a nice home near Houston and were establishing a life together. Chris’ brother Stephen was signed by the Houston Dynamo and the boys were able to have what is probably a brothers’ dream of playing professionally together. And then … Chris was traded to San Jose. They had the house in Houston – Lindsey had her career there – and now it was back to California.
NOBODY on planet earth would have ever written the next chapter in the young Wondo Family’s lives. Chris thrived – Lindsey moved back to California – and eventually they were able to settle into their own home in the East Bay and create Emersyn. (Add to that – Stephen now coaches for the San Jose Earthquakes Academy … and things have worked out pretty well).
So … this dad that used to fly to Houston to watch Chris play in Sunday Morning Reserve Games – now gets to sit at the most beautiful soccer stadium I have ever seen – with my granddaughter on my lap – and watch Chris score his 99th goal right in front of us.
Obviously I hope he gets to 100 soon … but what a fool I would be to not simply relish 99 goals and what those have meant in the twists and turns in his life. And how great it has been to have a pretty good seat to all of it.