[MLS SPOTLIGHT]When he decided last February to play one more season as a player-coach, rather than retire outright as a player, Brian Ching sensed the end was near. But he wanted to give it one last go.
On Tuesday, he made it official: the 2013 season will be his last. A testimonial match featuring current and former Dynamo players as well as a few from the U.S. national team will be staged at BBVA Compass Stadium Dec. 13.
Ching, 35, hasn’t lost his warrior spirit; it’s the wear and tear that has worn him down. He still holds out the hope of playing a few more minutes if the team needs him, as remote as that possibility appears.
“Mentally you’re there … but physically your body won’t let you do it,” he said on Tuesday. “I think the realization hit me a couple of weeks ago. I was so frustrated at times I wasn’t enjoying it. Now I’m getting back there.”
Not many players can be considered the face of the franchise, but that tired old cliché applies in Ching’s case. He accompanied the team when it moved from San Jose after the 2005 season, and his 69 goals in Dynamo orange is a team record. With him Houston won the 2006 and 2007 MLS Cups, and played dozens of playoff games and international matches.
He’s managed to play just 232 minutes this season and has already decided to remain with the team in some capacity. Coach Dominic Kinnearhad plenty of praise at the ready to honor one of his favorite players.
“From a coaching point of view, he’s meant more than people can imagine,” Kinnear told MLSsoccer.com. “He’s been great in the locker room, he’s been great on the field and I know he’s been great in the community. He’s been a great teammate, a great player, a great captain and I’ve had a great [relationship] with him and I appreciate everything he’s done for our team since we’ve stepped foot in Houston.”