Eric Wynalda: Wikis


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Eric Wynalda
Personal information
Full name Eric Boswell Wynalda
Date of birth June 9, 1969 (1969-06-09) (age 40)
Place of birth    Fullerton, CA, United States
Height 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Youth career
1987–1989 San Diego State
Senior career1
Years Club App (Gls)*
San Diego Nomads
San Francisco Bay Blackhawks (loan)
VfL Bochum
San Jose Clash
León (loan)
Miami Fusion
New England Revolution
Chicago Fire
Bakersfield Brigade
06 0(0)
17 0(5)
61 (21)
29 0(4)
57 (21)
05 0(3)
12 0(3)
08 0(0)
21 (10)
04 0(0)   
National team
1990–2000 United States 107 (34)

1 Senior club appearances and goals
counted for the domestic league only.
* Appearances (Goals)

Eric Boswell Wynalda (born June 9, 1969 in Fullerton, California) is an American soccer player, currently playing and serving as technical director for Bakersfield Brigade in the USL Premier Development League. He is also a co-host of Fox Football Fone-In on Fox Soccer Channel.

Wynalda scored the first goal ever in Major League Soccer in 1996 and was the all-time leading goalscorer for the United States national team until 2008. He was elected to the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2004.


Youth and college

Wynalda, of Dutch ancestry, grew up in Westlake Village, California. As a child his team (the Westlake Wolves, with Eric's father Dave as the head coach) won the state championship in AYSO soccer as Wynalda scored more goals than the entire division his team played in, combined (56 goals in 16 games). He later attended Westlake High School and was a three time All State selection with the school's boys soccer team and a youth club team mate of fellow national team player Cobi Jones.

He attended San Diego State University from 1987 to 1989 where he played for the Aztecs men's soccer team, scoring 34 goals and assisting on 25 others during his three seasons. His freshman year, SDSU went to the NCAA Men's Soccer Championship game where it lost to the Bruce Murray led Clemson Tigers. While at SDSU, he also played two seasons with the local semi-pro San Diego Nomads of the Western Soccer Alliance. In 1988, he played a single game and in 1989, he played 5 games with the Nomads.[9]

Professional career

Leading up to the 1990 FIFA World Cup, Wynalda signed a contract with the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF). After the World Cup, Wynalda signed as an on loan player from USSF with the San Francisco Bay Blackhawks of the American Professional Soccer League. During his nearly three seasons with the Blackhawks, he played only a handful of games with the team, devoting most of his time to the national team. However, in 1992, he experienced a falling out with both the national team and the Blackhawks. In May 1992, national team coach Bora Milutinović kicked Wynalda out of a national team training camp after he elbowed a teammate in the face. A month later, he was kicked off the Blackhawks for being disruptive, and constantly bickering with the coach, Laurie Calloway. When no U.S. based team expressed an interest in Wynalda, he announced his intentions to pursue a move to Europe. In August 1992, USSF loaned Wynalda to Bundesliga club Saarbrücken for $45,000.[1] When he arrived at Saarbrücken, he became the first American-born player to play for a top level German club. He had an immediate impact on the club, scoring eight goals in the first half of the season. This led Saarbrücken to purchase Wynalda's contract from USSF for $405,000. However, his output dropped after the winter break and he only scored once in the second half. Saarbrücken finished the 1992-1993 at the bottom of the Bundesliga standings and was relegated to the Second Division. Wynalda scored twelve goals in the 1993-1994 season and was transferred to fellow Second Division club VfL Bochum at the end of the season for $850,000. Wynalda failed to equal his scoring exploits with Bochum, and experienced a falling out with the club. He had a hernia operation on August 30 which put him out of action. While convalesing, he criticized the club and its coach, leading to the coach suspending Wynalda.[2]

Wynalda came back to the States in 1996, signing with Major League Soccer (MLS). As part of the process of creating the new league, known players were distributed throughout the league's new teams (except for the Dallas Burn, which alone amongst all MLS sides never received a US National Team allocation from the 1994 World Cup era). The league allocated Wynalda to the San Jose Clash. On April 6, 1996 Wynalda scored the first goal in league history in its inaugural game as the Clash beat D.C. United 1-0. He was named U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year.

After the 1998 World Cup, Wynalda began seeking a move back to Europe. While he had publicly declared that he would never return to Germany, including turning down a January 1998 offer from Kaiserslautern, he now began putting out feelers there. When no German teams expressed an interest in Wynalda, he then sought a move to England. He contacted his long time friend Martin Desmond who arranged a trial in December, he had a trial with Charlton Athletic, but the team did not offer Wynalda a contract and Wynalda returned to the Clash.[3]

Wynalda was loaned out to Club León in Mexico in 1999. He tore both the ACL and medial meniscus on his left knee while with Leon which put him out of action for several months.[4] After missing the first eleven games of the 1999 season, the Clash traded Wynalda to the Miami Fusion. On July 8, 2000, the Fusion turned around and traded Wynalda to the New England Revolution for Ivan McKinley after Wynalda failed to improve the Fusion's offensive output. On May 3, 2001, the Revs sent him to the Chicago Fire for John Wolyniec, where he finished his MLS career, ending up with a total of 34 MLS goals (plus two in the playoffs). In 2002, Wynalda joined the Los Angeles Galaxy, announcing that he planned to retire with the team. However, he left the Galaxy during the team's pre-season tour of Chile in order to pursue an offer to play professionally in China. When that offer fell through, he returned to the Galaxy only to leave it for the Charleston Battery of the USL First Division after feuding with the MLS front office about his salary. MLS was offering to pay Wynalda $43,000 for the 2002 season which Wynalda considered much too low.[5] As the Battery had offered him $75,000, Wynalda joined that team only to tear his anterier cruciate ligament in a pre-season match.[6] He elected to retire from professional soccer and became a broadcast announcer.

National team

Wynalda earned his first cap against Costa Rica on February 2, 1990. On March 14, 1990, he signed a contract with the United States Soccer Federation which made him a full-time national team player.[7] Later that year, Wynalda played in his first World Cup, gaining the dubious honor of becoming the first U.S. player to be ejected from a World Cup game. That came when Czechoslovakian midfielder Lubomir Moravcik baited Wynalda in front of a referee. Wynalda, true to his temperament, retaliated and was shown red.[8]

In the 1994 FIFA World Cup, Wynalda scored on a free kick from 28 yards as the United States tied Switzerland. He also played in Copa America 1995, where he was named to the all-tournament team after scoring against Chile and Argentina.

In 1998, Wynalda participated in his third World Cup, one of five U.S. players (Tab Ramos, Tony Meola, Earnie Stewart and Marcelo Balboa) to earn that honor. Claudio Reyna and Kasey Keller have since gone on to be named to a record four World Cup rosters.

Wynalda retired from the US National Team as its all-time leading scorer with 34 goals in 106 appearances. He was the sole owner of the record until 2007, when Landon Donovan tied the record with a penalty kick goal against Mexico in the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup final. Wynalda lost the record when Donovan scored yet another penalty kick in a friendly match against Sweden on January 19, 2008. He was named the Honda US Player of the Decade for the 1990s and elected to the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2004.

Post retirement soccer career

In 2005, Bakersfield Brigade of the USL Premier Development League hired Wynalda as its technical director[9], and in 2007 he agreed a short-term playing contract with the team during the last few matches of their season.[10]. On May 1, 2008, he signed a formal season-long agreement to play the entire campaign with the Brigade as a full member of the 2008 playing squad.[11]

He has also continued to play with an over-30s amateur team in Los Angeles, Hollywood United, alongside former U.S. internationals Alexi Lalas and John Harkes, former French international Frank Leboeuf, former Welsh international player Vinnie Jones, and actor Anthony La Paglia.[12] United plays in the Los Angeles Olympic Soccer League.[13]

In February 2010, in the midst of a sex scandal involving England captain John Terry, it was reported that Wynalda's wife Amy had an affair with his national teammate, John Harkes. These acts prompted US coach Steve Sampson to leave Harkes off the 1998 US World Cup team. The US finished last in the tournament that year.

Broadcast career

After retiring, Wynalda began working as a soccer analyst for ESPN. Along with Alexi Lalas, he was the channel's in-studio analyst for the 2006 FIFA World Cup on English-language broadcasts. Wynalda was one of the most vocal critics of U.S. head coach Bruce Arena during the tournament. However, after the World Cup, he was amicably paired in-studio with Arena as co-analysts for some 2006 MLS Cup playoff games, a successful arrangement which continued with ESPN's coverage of the US National Team in 2007. Wynalda was one of the main analysts for ESPN and ABC during the 2007 Major League Soccer season.

In 2008 he became columnist for Major League Soccer Magazine, an independent soccer magazine licensed with MLS and based in Los Angeles.

In August 2009, Fox Soccer Channel announced that Eric Wynalda would replace Steven Cohen as the co-host of the weekly discussion show, Fox Football Fone-in. In addition, Wynalda began working as a commentator for some of the channel's MLS broadcasts, and as an in-studio analyst during pre-game, half-time, and post-game segments for the UEFA Champions League.


  1. ^ Reject Kicks Bad Rap, Stars in Germany. Chicago Tribune, October 17, 1992. Phil Hersh - see Discussion page for quotes
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ Charlton Drops Bid For Wynalda
  4. ^ Surgery for Wynalda
  5. ^ A Warning Shot
  6. ^ Wynalda Out With Probable ACL Tear
  7. ^ [2]
  8. ^ [3]
  9. ^ [4]
  10. ^ [5]
  11. ^ [6]
  12. ^ [7]
  13. ^ [8]

External links

Preceded by
Alexi Lalas
U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year
Succeeded by
Kasey Keller


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