Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Eric Wynalda (born June 9, 1969 in Westlake Village, California) is a former American soccer forward, the all-time leading scorer for the US National Team. Wynalda scored the first goal ever in Major League Soccer in 1996 and was elected to the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2004.
After playing for San Diego State University, Wynalda earned his first cap against Costa Rica on February 2, 1990. Later that year, he played in his first World Cup and then became the first American-born player to play for a Bundesliga club. One of the first Americans to make a name for himself in European soccer, Wynalda played in Germany for 1. FC Saarbrücken (1992-1994) and VfL Bochum (1994-1996). In the 1994 World Cup, Eric scored on a free kick as the United States tied Switzerland. He came back to the States in 1996, signing with Major League Soccer and the San Jose Clash. On April 6, 1996 Wynalda scored the lone goal in the league's first game as the Clash beat DC United. He was named U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year that year.
However, Wynalda's MLS career never lived up to expectations, as the ten goals he scored in his first season he matched only once, in his last. In 1998, Eric participated in his third World Cup, becoming only the third US player (Tab Ramos, Marcelo Balboa) to do so. He was loaned out to Leon in Mexico in 1999, and was traded by the Clash to the Miami Fusion later that year. In 2000, Wynalda was traded to the New England Revolution, and in 2001, to the Chicago Fire, where he finished his career, ending up with a total of just 34 MLS goals (plus two in the playoffs).
Wynalda retired from the US National Team as its all-time leading scorer with 34 goals in 106 appearances. He was named the Honda US Player of the Decade for the 1990s and elected to the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2004. Eric is currently a TV broadcaster for ESPN.
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