Chris Wondolowski

AP

Chris Wondolowski

Chris Wondolowski Is the Kiowa Tribe’s Hometown Hero

Chris Wondolowski has emerged as the hometown star of the Kiowa tribe.

"He's become a hero to the Kiowa tribe," Keith Vasquez, a Kiowa spokesman, told the AP. "He has a following around the area that's gaining more and more as time goes by, and I hope that it progresses more than it has so far."

There is no downplaying Wondolowski's impact on the towns of Carnegie, Hobart, Lawton and Anadarko, in the southwest part of Oklahoma where most Kiowa live, The AP said.

"I know there are a lot of kids that are willing to try the sport because there is a connection," Wondolowski's mother, Janis Hoyt, told the AP.

RELATED: Photo: Wondolowski 'Bau Daigh' Debuts in World Cup, Makes Grandparents Proud

Wondolowski’s mother is half Kiowa and half Cherokee and took him to Oklahoma as a kid growing up so that he would stay connected to his culture.

Bill Elliott, Chris Wondolowski's grandfather watches the World Cup on June 26, 2014. (Associated Press)

Associated Press

Bill Elliott, Chris Wondolowski's grandfather watches the World Cup on June 26, 2014.

On his right ribcage, Wondo has a tattoo of his Kiowa name Bau Daigh, which means "Warrior coming over the hill.”

"It was something he really felt was an identifier," Hoyt said. "He's not the type of person who does something like that just because it's a trend."

Wondolowski was a standout player later on in his career, but it began professionally in 2005. That year, he was drafted 41st overall to the San Jose Earthquakes, but he made just two MLS appearances. Five years later, in 2010, he won the Golden Boot award leading the league in goals score. And again in 2012, he tied an MLS record with 27 goals and won the MVP award and the Golden Boot award.

"He's exerted drive and tenacity to be better, and to be a winner, and I'm proud of that fact," his grandfather, Bill Elliott, said. "I'm also very proud that he grew up to love his culture, love his family and be a good role model for young kids."

"He's a humble person, but when it comes to being on the field or playing sports, he's got to win," Brent Bear, Wondolowski's uncle, told the wire service. "Some people have it, some people don't. He had it, even at a young age."

It is unclear whether Wondo will play against Belgium, but he certainly hasn’t lost his spirit for the game. After Team USA’s loss to Germany on June 26, he tweeted:

Associated Press

Bill Elliott, Chris Wondolowski's grandfather watches the World Cup on June 26, 2014.

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Chris Wondolowski Is the Kiowa Tribe's Hometown Hero

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