June 15, 2011

Kiowa soccer star

A Kiowa Coach and the Greatest Professional Indian Athlete in the World

By Cedric SunrayThe top professional Indian athlete in the country, Chris Wondolowski, another enrolled Kiowa, isn’t throwing footballs in the NFL, hitting golf balls down the fairway, or living a life well known to most Indian people. And don’t let the surname fool you, his mom is Kiowa and his journey is indicative of the few Indian people who claw their way to the professional ranks.

Chris didn’t play for an NCAA D-I school in college and he wasn’t drafted in the Major League Soccer Super Draft. He showed up to an area camp tryout and wasn’t invited back for day two, so he appeared uninvited and impressed the coaches. The MLS supplemental draft is usually where “lesser” players are selected and being chosen at the tail end of the draft doesn’t exactly build one’s confidence. In his first five seasons in the MLS he tallied only seven goals, but in 2010 he placed eighteen in the back of the net during the 26 game season. Eight of these were game winners and ten were consecutive. He was chosen as the Golden Boot award winner and as a finalist for league MVP during the 2010 season while making the league minimum of $40,000 as a player for the San Jose Earthquakes. The Golden Boot is given to the top scorer in Major League Soccer.

To put that in context for many readers in the United States, that means that he is the equivalent of a Kobe Bryant in the NBA, Tiger Woods of three years ago, and Jose Canseco during his peak. Of course to put that in further context, he is all of these guys minus the infidelity, homophobic slurs, large egos, and steroids. He makes world renowned and MLS soccer star David Beckham look like a rookie.
Comment:  For more on Indians and soccer, see Soccer Teaches Life Skills to Hitnü and Soccer Team Hosts Native Heritage Night.

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