One of the most prolific forwards in MLS history will be hanging up his cleats, as Houston Dynamo forward Brian Ching announced his retirement Tuesday, effective at the end of the season.
Ching, 35, has scored 82 regular season goals and eight playoff goals in his MLS career (and an additional 11 goals in 45 caps for the U.S. national team), but he has been reduced to seldom-used substitute this season in his role as a player-assistant coach.
As a member of the San Jose Earthquakes and Dynamo, Ching has won three MLS Cups, and he will be vying to go out with a fourth as his 12th season as a professional winds down.
Ching's place in Houston soccer lore is well-documented, from his four-goal game in the franchise's inaugural match, to his game-tying goal in extra time of the 2006 MLS Cup final, to his scoring the final goal in Robertson Stadium before the club moved to BBVA Compass Stadium.
As a result, the club is honoring him with a star-studded testimonial match for his charity Dec. 13, which will include a cavalcade of high-profile MLS and U.S. national team players. Landon Donovan, Dwayne De Rosario, Frankie Hejduk, Carlos Bocanegra, Brad Davis, Steve Ralston, Pat Onstad, Jimmy Conrad, Corey Ashe, Chris Wondolowski and John Spencer are among the players already confirmed for the match, with more set to be announced.
“On the field his contributions have been great; off of the field his contributions have been even better,” Dynamo coach Dominic Kinnear said in a team statement. “Because he’s not just happy being a professional athlete, I think he wants to be part of the community. As always, he’s doing something not for the sport, but for the city of Houston. He’s a wonderful person. The highest compliment I could give him is that I wish I could have been his teammate along the way.”