Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By DAN KARELL
Houston Dynamo legend Brian Ching is reportedly ready to make his 13th season in professional soccer his last.
According to a report in the Houston Chronicle, Ching will announce on Tuesday his intent to retire at the end of the season, ending a decorated career that includes scoring the most goals in Dynamo history and earning 45 caps for the U.S. Men’s National Team, and a spot in the 2006 World Cup squad.
“If I had retired last year it would have been more of a difficult decision than it was this year,” Ching told the Houston Chronicle. “My body is telling me that it’s time to call it and retire. I can’t play 90 minutes at the level I want. My body hurts if I do play over 45 minutes. It doesn’t just hurt a couple days after. It hurts an entire week.”
The report states that the 35-year-old Ching will transition into a front office job for next season.
Last February, Ching signed a one-year contract as a player/coach, splitting time as a player while also serving on Dom Kinnear’s staff this season. This season, Ching has made 14 league appearances, though all of them have been off the bench, with little time to make a difference, as Kinnear has stuck with Giles Barnes and Will Bruin as his forwards up top.
After being selected as the 16th overall pick by the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2001, Ching, the first MLS player drafted out of Hawaii, bounced around between the Galaxy and Seattle Sounders, then in the A-League, before earning a chance with the San Jose Earthquakes in 2003. In his three years in San Jose, Ching scored 25 times and added 11 assists, before moving with the team to Houston before the 2005 season.
Since moving with the club, Ching has put down roots in the Houston area, and continued his goal scoring for the team in the last eight years, scoring 56 goals, good for first place on the all-time list of scorers with the Dynamo.
At the international level, Ching made his full debut for the USMNT on May 28, 2003 against Wales, and went on to make 45 appearances in total for the USA while scoring 11 goals. Ching was a member of the 2006 USMNT World Cup squad, though he didn’t make an appearance, and was a member of the USMNT preliminary World Cup squad in 2010, but didn’t make the final cut.
What do you think of this report? Surprised that he is retiring? Where does he stack up in MLS history as a forward? What are your memories of Ching at the club and international level?
Share your thoughts below.
I remember it like it was yesterday, him playing for the Sounders. A funny/tragic moment….One ball hit in the center to him would have most likely put us through in the USOC beating San Jose, who I believe had just won MLS Cup. The ball hit a very bad spot in the field (InterBay field..capacity about zero). He strikes the air very hard as the ball bouces ten feet in the air.
San Jose couldn’t handle that Sounders team for most of that game.
When he moved up to MLS, you couldn’t help but root for him, he plays so hard.
One of my all time favorite players. Pure class and a warrior in the box. He wasn’t all bash and crash, he was very creative and easy to play combinations with. He had an ability to get open in the box which I’m sure Wondo studied closely. Whenever he scored with the Quakes, they’d play the theme from Hawaii 5-O…people would just go completely insane…it was different when Ching scored… maybe because he was from Hawaii and fought his way up through the A league but SJ fans really pulled hard for him to succeed – it was pure joy when he scored.
I was incredibly disappointed when BB froze him out of the 2010 WC. He really could have helped us as a late sub. He had a great understanding and chemistry with LD.
One of my favorite Ching memories was when the old Quakes/Dynamo came to Buck Shaw to play the 2008 semi-pro Quakes. It was a surreal experience. Things got heated on the field with players on both teams pushing and shoving. Some idiot newbie fans were really disrespecting the previous Quake players. Someone got in Ching’s face and he just pointed to the two stars on the guy’s jersey and firmly let him know who put those stars on it.
It was impossible to root against Ching.
My only hope is that Dom brings Chingy and Wade to SJ when he comes back to coach the Quakes next season.
Brian, I hope I do as well in my job as you have done in yours!
First statue outside BBVA Compass!
The Big Kahuna. Great competitor for his club, and country. Ching is class. I hope to see him involved in the beautiful game in some capacity in the future.
I remember when Ching was performing at a high level during World Cup Qualifiers, scoring goals, getting other players involved, getting assists, and helping secure and win games. Then, once they got into the World Cup and began playing, Bruce Arena (USMNT Head Coach at the time) decided it was a good idea to bench Ching in favor of McBride and some other bone-head forwards? WTF?
Then after the USA got knocked out, the first thing that came out of Bruce Arena’s mouth when asked what would he have done differently, “….I would’ve played Brian Ching.” I was soooooo pissed, but hey, at least Bruce had the guts to say the truth and recognized his error. Ching has always been a class act. I’m proud every time he steps out on the field whether the Dynamo are losing or not. He’s earned his place in MLS.
P.S. They should put a statue of him outside BBVA Compass Stadium as you walk in like they did for Rocky Balboa in the movie Rocky. LOL!
At least Arena had him on the team. Bradley screwed up even worse.
Nagging hammy injuries.
Never call Brian McBride a bonehead. Ever.
Okay, okay. My bad. I let my passion get the best of me.
He could hold but couldn’t score or dominate in the air against real intl. Teams. Simply was not good enough to be on the Wc team.
Oh, c’mon, we all know the 2006 personnel and tactics were botched, and Arena admits as much. I’m not sure if he should have played Ching and McBride, same time — and I’d have favored McBride over Ching to start — but the 451 did not work, and Ching was in form at the time.
A great player but probably about 2 years late on retiring. Boy has it been sad to watch him play the past two seasons. Slow is an understatement. Seems like the Dynamo simply couldn’t say no to the man.
Bring Ching is a legend and I wish him the best.
I’m morbidly anticipating the “First Hawaiian to Retire from MLS” comments.
Concur – Ching is a class act.
I love the guy. He has been such a class act and the MAN from day one here in Houston. My seats are right behind the bench and over the years I have watched his body (Knees) slowly deteriorate. This season he could barely get down into a stretch. His knees are just like a rusty hinge now. I cringed in empathy every time he tried to warm up. It just looked so awkward and painful. When he was left off the 18 this weekend, I knew something was going on.
Man.. he will be missed.
The article suggested the chronological order was the other way around, that his omission from the 18 ostensibly led to the discussion with the coach and assessment of his future.
I wasn’t implying an order.. Me and the wife felt is was really odd he wasn’t in the 18 with no apparent injury since he’s been a fixture on the bench.. now with Cummings and Carr (soon?) there just isn’t room for him anymore.
Johnson has a goal and is dangerous when given the chance, if a little sloppy and not a typical Kinnear Type. Barnes is semiproductive even though out of position. Ching is probably not the best of the walking wounded section of the forward pool. Weaver stinks but even he has more production. Cold blooded but he’s a shell of himself.
But then I wouldn’t have had him or Weaver back or traded for the oft injured Cummings, particularly when we knew Carr would be out a large chunk of the season (and I think Carr is overrated, although his speed opened up the game for the rest of the team….Kinnear generally overlooks the meaning of speed to our success…without it we look like an Old Man soccer team and are roughly as successful).
Ching should have been on the WC 2010 squad. We needed his hold-up play that brings in the midfield into the attack. Finley may have had speed, but he did little with the ball once he had it and was largely ineffective.
Good career and good guy. Good to see him retire with the Dynamo.
I’m glad he retired here and was not stuck in Montreal, but 5G last year struck me as victory lap numbers and it should have ended there. 14 subs for 0G this year is not how to retire. I worry about the Dynamo nostalgia thing for the 06-07 teams getting in the way of progress here. You’ve now burned two prime years with Davis, who may be on the downside by the time we get another forward in. I also think we blew two straight MLS Cups with strong units but not enough finishing.
Important player in the winning years, but a little too much loyalty to that is also why we’re not #1 anymore. I still remember how we cut Cerritos, benched Moreno, and signed Dalglish on the way to title one. Title year 2 we traded Moreno and brought in Jaqua and Ngwenya. We lack that personnel management ruthlessness and that’s why we have tied for the fewest goals of any team in the playoff spots currently, and will need another patented run to repeat what passes for success in recent years.
While it wouldn’t hurt to add another solid FWD and CB this offseason, I’d say the following things are positive signs for the future:
1. Signing of a young DP in Lopez
2. JJ rounding into decent form–the gamble is paying off
3. Extra draft pick from Seattle along w/ Carrasco
I’d bump up a CB as a major requirement but that’s just me.
Lopez is piling on…..midfield we have more quality players than spots, including Barnes who’s been redeployed as a F. So we have too many middies but are losing points for lack of finishing up top or depth in back. This makes no sense. Classic misallocation of resources. Like when we had 5 people capable of playing DM in a recent year but no playmaker. At some point that catches up to you.
I felt like we had more than enough people capable of playing DM — Clark and Creavalle — and that Moffat for Carrasco, like for like, is another misallocation. What we need are people who can score goals or play stopper.
Don’t get me wrong, if we can get 3 attacking mids on the field at a time, I like the accumulation of talent at the spot. But most games we pick 2 mids from the talent pile to attack, play an empty bucket, and waste the talent we have. We then don’t have enough forward muscle to finish all the chances, and some nights our flawed defense gets exposed. Since the middie issue is a selection problem — we have the players — but the F and D problems are talent — that’s where the signings should be going. When Creavalle is starting as a CB and Barnes as a F it’s time to wake up.
Imperative voice, come back to bigsoccer. I miss you. *rey
Ching was a great professional for Houston and wish him all the best. The way the opposing fans treated him when he missed out on the WC roster was sad to see
Ching was also an esteemed member of the Montreal Impact. 😉
That was a bizarre series of events, wasn’t it?
What a legend
Only rooter for him when he played for the Nats…he had some good moments for us….wasn’t happy when he didn’t make the 2010 world cup squad….seeing how ‘well’ robbie findlay performed was a reminder of how much ching was missed…
Seems like a good guy, good career.
I was heartbroken for him when he didn’t make the 2010 WC squad. The way opposing MLS fans treated him after that was awful.
Aloha to a class act.