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Eric Wynalda

Eric Wynalda
Full nameEric Boswell Wynalda
Date of birth (1969-06-09) June 9, 1969 (age 46)
Place of birthFullerton, California, United States
HeightScript error: No such module "convert".
Playing positionForward
Youth career
1987–1989San Diego State Aztecs
Senior career*
1988–1992San Diego Nomads6(0)
1990–1992San Francisco Bay Blackhawks (loan)17(5)
1992–19941. FC Saarbrücken61(21)
1994–1996VfL Bochum29(4)
1996–1999San Jose Clash57(21)
1999León (loan)5(0)
1999–2000Miami Fusion12(3)
2000–2001New England Revolution8(0)
2001Chicago Fire21(10)
2007–2008Bakersfield Brigade4(0)
National team
1990–2000United States106(34)
Teams managed
2010–2011San Diego Flash (assistant)
2012Cal FC
2012Atlanta Silverbacks (interim)
2014Atlanta Silverbacks

Eric Boswell Wynalda (born June 9, 1969) is a retired American soccer player, and sports broadcaster. He is currently a soccer analyst on Fox Sports 1.

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. Wynalda was described as a "shifty, dynamic player off the dribble with a heavy shot."[1] 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. That year Wynalda scored more goals than the entire division his team played in combined (58 goals in 16 games). His skills continued to improve year after year and he 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.[2]

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.

In August 1992, USSF loaned Wynalda to Bundesliga club Saarbrücken for $45,000. 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. Wynalda was awarded the Bundesliga Best New Comer of the Year Award, making him the first American-born player to receive an honor of that magnitude overseas. Wynalda scored 14 goals and had 25 assists in the 1993–1994 season of the 2nd Bundesliga and was named the league's best player; again making him the first American-born player to receive that type of honor in a European league. He was transferred to fellow Second Division club VfL Bochum at the end of the season for $850,000. He had a hernia operation on August 30 which put him out of action.

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.

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.[3] 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 attempted to join the Los Angeles Galaxy, announcing that he planned to retire with the team. However, the negotiations with the Galaxy did not work out and he signed for the Charleston Battery of the USL First Division. Wynalda joined the team only to tear his anterier cruciate ligament in a pre-season match.[4] 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.[5] Later that year, Wynalda played in Italy 1990, his first World Cup, earning a red card against Czechoslovakia

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 only three U.S. players (the others being Tab Ramos and Marcelo Balboa) to have earned that honor at that time. He finished the 1998 World Cup with no goals.

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.

Wynalda was named the Honda US Player of the Decade for the 1990s, was named to the CONCACAF All-Decade Team of the 1990s and was elected to the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2004. In 2006 he was named to the Ventura County Sports Hall of Fame.[6]

International goals

Post retirement soccer career

In 2005, Bakersfield Brigade of the USL Premier Development League hired Wynalda as its technical director,[7] and in 2007 he agreed to a short-term playing contract with the team during the last few matches of their season.[8] 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.[9]

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.[10] United plays in the Los Angeles Olympic Soccer League.[11]

Cal FC manager

Wynalda has been the head coach of Cal FC since 2012 and his side received attention in the 2012 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup when they reached the fourth round of the tournament, upsetting USL Pro side Wilmington Hammerheads 4-0[12] and Major League Soccer side Portland Timbers 1-0 along the way.

Cal FC's victory over the Timbers made them the first-ever USASA side to beat an MLS side, as well as the first amateur side to beat an MLS one without needing penalty kicks. It stands as the biggest upset in the tournament's history, especially considering the Timbers featured their regular starting lineup.[13][14][15][16][17][18]

Atlanta Silverbacks

On July 2, 2012, it was announced that Wynalda will become the interim head coach and team adviser of the new North American Soccer League's Atlanta Silverbacks.[19]

On January 7, 2014, the Silverbacks announced they would get rid of the head coach position and have Wynalda act as the manager and technical director of the team. This is something rarely done by a professional soccer club.[20]

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 and partner up with Nick Webster who coached alongside Eric with Cal FC during their historic run in the US Open Cup. 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.

In June & July 2010, Wynalda covered the 2010 FIFA World Cup for Yahoo! Sports as a video blog analyst.

He is currently an analyst for Fox Sports One on its daily show, "Fox Soccer Daily".


  1. ^ "The Most Influential XI as U.S. Soccer turns 100". Retrieved 3 June 2013.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  2. ^ "The A-League Archives". 2009-01-20. Retrieved 2010-06-18. 
  3. ^ Surgery for Wynalda
  4. ^ Wynalda Out With Probable ACL Tear
  5. ^ "SPORTS PEOPLE - SOCCER - SPORTS PEOPLE - SOCCER - U.S. Federation Signs 2 -". New York Times. 1990-03-15. Retrieved 2010-06-18. 
  6. ^ Ventura County Sports Hall of Fame
  7. ^ Demosphere International, Inc. (2005-12-18). "United Soccer Leagues (USL)". Retrieved 2010-06-18. 
  8. ^ Demosphere International, Inc. (2007-07-03). "United Soccer Leagues (USL)". Retrieved 2010-06-18. 
  9. ^ Curley, Joe (2010-06-14). "Wynalda joins Bakersfield Brigade". Ventura County Star. Retrieved 2010-06-18. 
  10. ^ "". 2010-03-11. Retrieved 2010-06-18. 
  11. ^ "Olympic Soccer League". Retrieved 2010-06-18. 
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Cal FC upsets Timbers 1-0 in US Open Cup match". Associated Press. May 31, 2012. Retrieved May 31, 2012. 
  14. ^ Arnold, Geoffrey (May 30, 2012). "Amateur squad shocks Portland Timbers in U.S. Open Cup". The Oregonian. Retrieved May 31, 2012. 
  15. ^ Itel, Dan (May 30, 2012). "USOC RECAP: Timbers fall 1-0 to Cal FC in extra time". Major League Soccer. Retrieved May 31, 2012. 
  16. ^ Curley, Joe (May 30, 2012). "T.O.-based Cal F.C. upsets MLS' Timbers". Ventura County Star. Retrieved May 31, 2012. 
  17. ^ Evans, Simon (May 31, 2012). "Timber! Portland felled by amateurs in cup upset". Reuters. Retrieved May 31, 2012. 
  18. ^ French, Scott (May 31, 2012). "OPEN CUP: Cal FC stuns Timbers". ESPN LA. Retrieved May 31, 2012. 
  19. ^ "Eric Wynalda Named Interim Coach of the Atlanta Silverbacks". 
  20. ^ "NASL's Atlanta Silverbacks eliminate head coaching post, hand duties to Eric Wynalda". 

External links