Over the coming weeks, HoustonDynamo.com will focus on various Dynamo Celebration Award Winners for an entire week of dedicated content to your favorite Dynamo players from 2013.
Keep your eye out each week for a highlight reel of each player's best moments from the 2013 MLS season, an end-of-season review with HoustonDynamo.com writer Tom Dart, infographics featuring the biggest moments and milestones reached by each player in 2013, special edition episodes of The Pulp, as well as live Google+ Hangouts where Dynamo fans will be able to submit questions to be answered by each player.
It all starts with the Dynamo Young Player of the Year, Warren Creavalle, next week.
HoustonDynamo.com Player Week Schedule
December 23 to 27: Warren Creavalle (Dynamo Young Player of the Year)
December 30 to January 3: Giles Barnes (Budweiser Golden Boot Winner)
January 6 to 10: Kofi Sarkodie (Dynamo Ironman of the Year and Defender of the Year)
January 13 to 17: Ricardo Clark (Dynamo Players' Player of the Year)
January 20 to 24: Tally Hall (Dynamo MVP)
Brian Ching addresses the fans, friends and family in attendance at his testimonial match as he ends his playing career.
First up, the man everyone came to see: Mr. Brian Ching nets five on his special night.
Brad Davis got the best of Landon Donovan in goal, chipping him from nearly the halfway mark.
Calen Carr scored two goals for the White Team, making excellent use of his helmet on both occaisions.
Current Dynamo assistant coach notched one as well, following up Pat Onstad's save from a Hunter Freeman shot.
Last but certainly not least, The Bachelor—Juan Pablo Galavis—showed his skill by chipping the on-rushing Tyler Deric and crashing into the post to bag a goal.
Dynamo broadcaster Glenn Davis is back on the air tonight with a new episode of Dynamo All-Access, presented by Houston Community College. The show will air on Yahoo! Sports Radio 1560 AM from 7-9 p.m.
Call in and give Glenn your thoughts on the Dynamo's offseason, including the recent trade with the Portland Timbers and the formation of the Houston Dash. Glenn will also have interviews with Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear, president Chris Canetti and Notre Dame goalkeeper and NCAA champion Pat Wall, a Dynamo Academy alum. Dynamo goalkeepers coach Tim Hanley will also join Glenn in studio.
Listen in as Glenn talks everything Dynamo!
The call-in number for the show is 713-439-1560.
Andrew Luck, Houston Dynamo superfan? You bet. In a recent interview with Roger Bennett and the Men in Blazers podcast, the Stratford High School alum dished on his love of the beautiful game. When asked about his favorite team, here's what the Indianapolis Colts quarterback had to say:
"The team that I follow completely is the Houston Dynamo. That's my No. 1 team in my heart because my father used to work for that club."
His father of course being Oliver Luck, former president of the Dynamo and current athletic director at West Virginia University.
Luck goes on to mention that he keeps up with MLS and is excited about the growth of the sport in the US, but he describes his own soccer playing style as "a hustler with zero technical ability." But who knows, maybe we could use a long-throw specialist at another testimonial match.
Dynamo TV brings you all the moments from the Brian Ching Testimonial Match.
Shot 100% by GoPro. Brad Davis plays in the Brian Ching Testimonial Match.
The Brian Ching Testimonial Match got an unexpected visitor, as Craig Waibel pulled a fan out of the stands and fitted him up for a minute-long cameo on the field.
Tune in to ESPN 97.5 FM tonight for a new episode of Soccer Matters with Glenn Davis! Glenn will look at everything in the world of soccer, including the launch of the Houston Dash, UEFA Champions League, and today's trade between the Dynamo and the Portland Timbers.
Tune in and give Glenn a call with your thoughts!
Tonight's episode airs from 8-10 p.m. and can be heard on the radio on 97.5 FM or online at www.espn975.com.
The call-in number for the show is 713-780-3776.
Leading up to the Brian Ching Testimonial Match, I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. MLS has obviously never done a testimonial for a player before, and I was only vaguely familiar with the concept. When I saw that Landon Donovan was listed as a goalkeeper, I couldn't decide if it was a joke or if we were in for an incredibly fun night. Fortunately, it was very much the latter; in a night full of highlights and awesome moments, seeing arguably the best player to ever wear the U.S. shirt playing in goal for 70 minutes was high on the list.
The lineup announcements prior to the match brought back a lot of great Dynamo memories. Seeing guys like Pat Onstad, Dwayne De Rosario, Brian Mullan, Craig Waibel, Eddie Robinson, Wade Barrett, Paul Dalglish and more all on the pitch at BBVA Compass Stadium playing together and wearing orange again was special. I don't think the match itself could have gone any better. Eddie Robinson played like he hadn't touched a soccer ball in years. Donovan made a couple of early saves and looked like he couldn't be having more fun with it.
Craig Waibel came up into the stands after being subbed out and sat a row over from me and just hung out and talked to the fans in typical Craig Waibel fashion. Even better, Waibs—as Stuart Holden listed him on his lineup—found a fan who looked like him, gave him his cleats and jersey and next thing you know there's a Craig Waibel look-a-like on the pitch and getting a cross in. Seeing Coach Kinnear and John Spencer out there playing was hilarious, and Dom actually wasn't half bad!
And then there's Brian Ching. I'll never, ever forget his first game in Houston and the four goal performance in the win over Colorado that instantly won over the hearts of this city. The huge, clutch goals—in both regular season and playoffs—are too many to try and list. He embodied everything that the Houston Dynamo represent for all eight years he has been here, both on and off the pitch. It was only fitting that he found the net five times during his testimonial. The last minute substitution and seeing Brian come off for the last time—and perhaps more importantly seeing the love and appreciation from every player out there—was also something that I will never forget.
I kept my emotions in check through the match and the final sub, but when Brian took the mic at the end, there must have been a bunch of dust that found its way into the stadium. You could hear how difficult this was for him, how much he truly loves the city of Houston and the Dynamo organization, and you got a glimpse into the kind of man Brian is when he choked up and struggled to find words to thank his mom for everything.
It was a first-class event all around, and I can't think of a better way to see the career of a true Houston legend come to a close. The Dynamo should be extremely proud of what they put together, and seeing the caliber of players that made it a point to take part speaks volumes to the respect that Brian has earned throughout his career. I'll admit—it's going to be a little weird to have a Dynamo squad without Brian Ching, but I expect that we'll still see plenty of him around the organization. He loves the club and the city far too much to not stay very involved, and hopefully last night reminded him how much the love is mutual.
Jason Zimmermann has been a Dynamo fan and season ticket holder since 2006. If you'd like to share your thoughts and memories from Friday's testimonial and Ching's career, send them to ChingTestimonial@gmail.com and it could be featured on HoustonDynamo.com.