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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.