Brian Ching fans may be happy to know that their favorite striker may not be hanging up his orange colored cape after all.
In an interview with MLSsoccer.com after Friday’s training session, Ching admitted that a strong finish to the season and some good feedback from his coaches and teammates – paired with his health – has him thinking 2013 may hold more than a desk job in the Houston front office.
“I was 95 percent sure I was going to retire, but the last month I’ve been feeling OK and contributing, so that’s kinda changed my mind,” Ching said. “I feel like I’ve contributed quite a bit on the field closing out games. Those kinds of things make you still think you have value to the team. I definitely don’t want to be that guy that’s just hanging on.
“At this point in my career I think that we’re gonna have to wait until at least a month after [the season] to see how I feel, see how my body feels and see if I’m capable of doing another season.”
A big reason why that 95 percent has shrunk is the way Ching feels physically.
After a healthy talk with head coach Dominic Kinnear, Ching transitioned from his traditional role as a stalwart, 90-minute player to providing a late spark off the bench. And the former US international is very good at it.
Ching has been influential for the Dynamo off the bench this season with three goals and two assists, and more importantly sparking several key late-game performances for crucial points to get Houston into the playoffs.
He’s also feeling healthy in November, something he has rarely been able to say in his career.
“I’ve been trying to talk him out of it,” defender Bobby Boswell said. “I think he’s got a lot of good soccer left in him. I’d hate it to be one of those situations where he looks back at it and regrets that decision. With that said, he’s done a lot for this city. He’s worked hard day in and day out to help bring this team wins and championships to the city and for that he’ll always be remembered.”
Even if retirement is still in the cards, however, Ching isn’t concerned with the notion that Sunday’s first leg of the Eastern Conference semifinals might be his last home game in Houston.
The Dynamo host Sporting Kansas City at BBVA Compass Stadium (2:30 pm CT; NBC) before playing the second leg on the road on Nov. 7.
“I don’t really think about it,” Ching said. “I just try and focus on the task at hand and doing the right things. If it’s my last game it’s something I’d reflect on after the game. If I think about it as being my last game then I might get too emotional.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.