116street Soccer

Footballing from a lesser authority...

Location: New York, New York

Monday, May 08, 2006

Know Your Yanks: Brian Ching

You're going to the World Cup, yah? No worries, brah! That's right kids, the spirit of Aloha will be visiting Germany this summer, courtesy of Hawaii's finest, Brian Ching.

Just when it looked like we'd be sending yet another little blond dude to the World Cup, USA Coach Bruce Arena surprisingly selected Brian Ching over Taylor Twellman for the squad's final forward spot. Ching, who debuted for the U.S. in 2003, is the first Hawaiian-born player to ever play for the USA, and will be a pioneer once again when he takes the field as the first Hawaiian to ever appear in a World Cup.
Ching began his professional career in 2001 with the Los Angeles Galaxy, but he appeared in only 8 games before L.A. released him in 2002. He spent the 2002 season toiling in the A-League, but his fortunes took a turn for the better when he was picked up by the San Jose Earthquakes in 2003. Ching turned into a monster for the 'Quakes in 2004, tying for the league lead in goals and taking home the Comeback Player of the Year award. Along the way, Ching made his U.S. National Team debut, serving as an understudy of sorts to Brian McBride, and scoring twice during the qualifying campaign. When the San Jose Earthquakes became Houston Dynamo in 2006, Ching moved to Houston as well, continuing his scoring ways (he currently leads MLS with 7 goals in 6 games) and becoming the face of the franchise.
The 6'1" Ching, much like McBride, plays as a prototypical target man. He uses his height and strength to gain a physical advantage over defenders, winning balls up front to sustain the U.S. attack. Around goal, his height enables him to get a fair number of headers, and his physicality enables him to get to loose balls, creating chances for himself and his teammates. At the international level, however, his finishing has been inconsistent (especially in light of his goal-scoring exploits in MLS).
His selection to the World Cup squad has not been without controversty either; when the similarly inconsistent Twellman started scoring goals for the U.S. a couple of months ago, fans began clamoring for his inclusion over Ching's, but Twellman eventually cooled for both club and country, while Ching was flourishing for the Dynamo. Ching's hot streak, combined with his more powerful physique, likely figured most prominently in his place on the team. Don't look for him to start in Germany, though; McBride, a more seasoned and effective player, will get the call as lead striker for the Americans. Ching is one for the future.

Career Highlights:

2001: Makes pro debut with the Los Angeles Galaxy (USA, Major League Soccer).

2002: Released by Los Angeles. Signs with the Seattle Sounders (USA, A-League (United Soccer Leagues)).

2003: Aquired by the San Jose Earthquakes (USA, Major League Soccer) in MLS Supplemental Draft. Wins MLS Cup with San Jose (missed final due to injury). Makes U.S. Men's National Team debut.

2004: Ties with Eddie Johnson for MLS lead in goals (12). Is named to MLS Best XI. Receives MLS Comeback Player of the Year Award.

2006: Becomes a member of Houston Dynamo (USA, Major League Soccer) when San Jose relocates to Houston.


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