After months of negotiations and a week of constant chatter, Brian Ching finally got the news he had been waiting for Thursday morning.
Fifteen minutes before the Dynamo training started, the striker got word that the MLS offices had approved the trade between his now former club, the Montreal Impact, and Houston, bringing him back to the city and club he calls home. With the green light to train, he put on the orange No. 25 and walked onto the field with a group of guys that are his new teammates in name only.
“I feel at home,” Ching told the media with a familiar smile following his first training session back with the Dynamo. “This is where I want to be and where I want to retire. It was just good to be back out with the guys. It’s back to the same old jokes, and it feels like I haven’t missed a day out here.”
Ching, who expects 2012 to be his final season unless something changes, played a major role in making the deal happen. His willingness and efforts to restructure his deal helped make the move back to Houston come together.
“I want this team to be successful and will do what it takes,” Ching said. “If taking less money allows me to be where I want to be and open up a new stadium, which I’ve always dreamed of doing, it’s reward enough for me.”
His sacrifice was just half the battle as the clubs still had to finalize the details of the actual trade. While he waited for the details to be ironed out, Ching admitted that he had to work on dealing with the stress. After all, since he was away from Impact camp and unable to train with the Dynamo, the striker was deprived of the one constant in his life for the past three months.
“This week’s been interesting to say the least because I’ve been in limbo with the teams talking and going back and forth and it wasn’t like I could play soccer anywhere,” Ching said. “That’s what made it easy for me when I reported to Montreal. I just started playing. It’s what I get paid to do, and it’s all I know how to do.”
Thankfully for Ching and the Dynamo, what goalkeeper coach Tim Hanley aptly termed “Chingsanity” is now over and all there is left to do now is play soccer for the organization he is committed to helping grow. That help will, in part, include helping open BBVA Compass Stadium in three months.
“That was my biggest cause of anxiety. I really came back this year to be a part of the opening of the stadium,” Ching said. “From day one in the league, I’ve never been a part of a franchise that had its own stadium. I’ve always wanted to experience what that would be like, and I’m happy things worked out and I’ll have that opportunity on May 12.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.