MLS legend Chris Wondolowski to be subject of Hollywood film

Chris Wondlowski

One of the great underdog stories in MLS history is headed to the big screen.

A feature-length film chronicling the life and professional soccer career of San Jose Earthquakes legend Chris Wondolowski is in development, according to a report from The Athletic's Jeff Rueter. The movie is set to be produced by the Hollywood-based Gritty Film Productions, which focuses on developing movies about true sports-related dramas.

Wondolowski's story certainly has plenty of qualities that are tailor-made for a Hollywood script. Before becoming the top goal-scorer in MLS history, Wondolowski was a little-known high school and college prospect turned fourth-round MLS Supplemental Draft pick out of Chico State, toiling on the fringes of MLS rosters for the first few seasons of his professional career. His ascent from there is the stuff of legends, as he eventually became a club icon with San Jose and made the 2014 World Cup roster for the US men's national team.

“I definitely hope that my early years – high school and college, the first three or four years of playing – I really hope those are spotlighted, because I think that kind of embodies my story in a sense,” Wondolowski told Reuter. “I’d love to kind of shed the light of how I was balancing on the edge of a knife, whether I could continue [playing after high school and college] or whether anyone wanted me to continue.

"I think it can also help, you know, shed some light on being able to recruit and that players slip through the cracks. You always can try to keep your dream and be able to have that journey, whichever way given the obstacles that come into that road.”

The film is still in its developmental stages, with a director and writer yet to be secured. However, Gritty Films founder Ted Collins said the notion of capitalizing on the buzz surrounding the 2026 World Cup, which is set to be hosted in North America, could expedite the timeline.

Wondolowski's 171 career goals are atop the all-time MLS leaderboard, ahead of the 145 scored by LA Galaxy and USMNT legend Landon Donovan. His career spanned 17 seasons before he retired at the end of the 2021 season at age 38.

During the 2022 MLS season, Wondolowski served as an assistant interim coach for San Jose after joining their front office.