Houston Dynamo and Major League Soccer great Brian Ching announced this week that this will be his final season. The 35 year old striker leaves the game as the all time leader in goals for the Houston franchise and tied for 11th in MLS history.
Ching also scored 11 goals in 45 appearances for the United States National Team, making the World Cup team in 2006. When he made his national team debut against Wales in 2003, Ching became the first Hawaiian, and just the second Chinese-American, to play for the USMNT.
Ching never quite made his mark in the national team, he went unused in the ‘06 World Cup and was among the last cuts for 2010. While his hold up play and work ethic endeared Ching to coaches and teammates, he never scored enough goals as a forward to satisfy the fans, or to solidify his place.
Although Ching had his moments in a U.S. jersey, ultimately he will be remembered for his time with the Houston Dynamo. Ching moved to Houston with the franchise when they relocated from San Jose before the 2006 season. Ching had already won the 2004 Golden Boot, but he really hit his stride when the original Earthquakes relocated to Houston.
From 2006 through 2011 Ching led Houton in goals and he retires as a six time All-Star. Ching was a leading figure on the Dynamo’s back to back championship winning sides in 2006 and 2007, winning the MLS Cup MVP in ‘06.
Ching became such an icon in Houston that when the new BBVA Compass Stadium opened in 2012, Ching was one of the players honored with huge banners inside the stadium. Ching was such a part of the Dynamo franchise that he threatened to retire when he was selected by the Montreal Impact in the 2011 Expansion Draft.
Houston had left Ching exposed, never expecting the Impact to select the veteran. Montreal and Houston soon worked out a deal to send Ching back to the Dynamo, ending a rather bizarre period in Ching’s career.
The veteran contributed off the bench as the Dynamo reached the past two MLS Cup Finals, losing both to the Galaxy. This season, though, Ching’s role lessened and has contributed mostly in his role as an assistant coach.
Houston have announced plans to honor Ching with a Testimonial game, the first ever in MLS. Over 64,000 showed up to honor Kasey Keller in his final home game for Seattle, but that match was not a Testimonial game.
Landon Donovan leads the list of players, past and present, who have agreed to lineout in Ching’s honor at the BBVA on Friday night December 13th, I guess Ching is not superstitious. The proceeds will go to The House That Ching Built, a charity affiliated with Habitat for Humanity.
It should be a great night as Houston pays tribute to one of the key figures in their franchise history, but that will have to wait as Houston makes a late season push to get back to the finals, and maybe win it one last time for Brian Ching.