Earthquakes’ Chris Wondolowski voted MLS MVP

Harry How/Getty ImagesTeam player: The Earthquakes’ Chris Wondolowski said that although the MVP trophy is an individual award

Harry How/Getty ImagesTeam player: The Earthquakes’ Chris Wondolowski said that although the MVP trophy is an individual award

Chris Wondolowski won Major League Soccer’s MVP award Thursday by an appropriately huge margin for the Earthquakes forward who dominated the league’s goal-scoring race.

Wondolowski capped his remarkable season by lifting the MVP trophy at the Home Depot Center during the week of festivities leading up to the MLS Cup on Saturday.

“It’s an individual award, but I like to think of it as a team award because I wouldn’t be here without those guys,” Wondolowski said. “There’s not many one-man goals scored by our team, and that shows you what kind of a team we have.”

The Bay Area native scored 27 goals, tying the MLS season record set by Tampa Bay’s Roy Lassiter in 1996, and won the Golden Boot as the league’s top scorer while leading San Jose to the Supporters’ Shield with the best regular-season record. He is the first Earthquakes player to win the MVP award, and the first MLS player to lead the league in goals for three straight years.

The 29-year-old former Earthquakes reserve team player received 91 percent of MLS club management votes, 97 percent of media votes and 71 percent of player votes for a combined 259 percent. Thierry Henry of New York Red Bulls was runner-up with a combined 14 percent, and Graham Zusi of Sporting Kansas City was third with
7 percent.

Wondolowski wasn’t recruited to play Division I soccer out of De La Salle High School in Concord, but was drafted by the MLS’ first version of the Earthquakes in 2005 after starring at Chico State.

Wondolowski immediately capitalized on his first consistent playing time under San Jose coach Frank Yallop, leading the MLS with 18 goals in 2010 before tying for the league lead with 16 last season.

“There’s not a more deserving person to win this,” Yallop said. “He’s such a team fella. He just wants to win. He’s not selfish. He’d do anything for his teammates, all the things you’d want in a player. To have 27 goals is an amazing feat in this very tough league.”

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