Houston forward Brian Ching is a perennial All-Star, but this year is extra-special for the Dynamo veteran, given his adopted hometown is hosting the summer classic.
And Ching is happy to play host, as his extracurricular calendar demonstrates.
"I've got a few things planned," Ching said. "But having said that, I've got to make sure I don't spread myself to thin as I want to play well. I do want to get in the game and hopefully get a good result out of it, especially for MLS and the fans here in Houston."
Ching will hope to avoid burn-out for the sake of his club team, too. The veteran is the Dynamo's joint lead scorer this season with three goals, and he will look to continue that as Houston chases a postseason berth down the stretch.
However, off-the-field duties beckon during All-Star Week. On Sunday, Ching made an appearance at the Kicking & Screening Film Festival, which donated a portion of its proceeds to his charity, The House That Ching Built.
Following the All-Star Game, Ching will host an afterparty at the House of Blues that threatens to go on into the wee hours of the morning. Again, proceeds from the party will benefit his charity, which works in concert with Habitat for Humanity to build a house for a deserving local family.
He also made an impromptu appearance, albeit an awkward one, onstage during Bobby Boswell's comedy show on Monday night.
The 32-year-old forward returns to the pitch on Saturday for a high-profile match against the Red Bulls. The fixture likely marks the MLS debut of Thierry Henry, and it comes just a week after the Dynamo suffered a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Columbus. Ching & Co. have lost eight games this season and sit near the foot of the Western Conference, but Ching remains focused on the positive.
"This is a great week of soccer for Houston fans," Ching said. "We've got the All-Star Game, and then we've got Thierry Henry and Juan Pablo Angel coming in, and that's going to be a great game as well."