Brian Ching

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U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame ballot revealed, including Beckham

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CHICAGO (AP) David Beckham, the English midfielder who brought increased visibility to American soccer and won a pair of Major League Soccer titles while playing for the LA Galaxy from 2007-12, is among 12 first-time candidates on the 33-player ballot for the U.S. National Soccer Hall of Fame.

Defender Steve Cherundolo, midfielder Pablo Mastroeni and forward Brian Ching, key parts of the U.S. national team, also are new candidates on the ballot announced Wednesday. Other first-timers include defenders Chris Albright, Danny Califf and Tina Frimpong Ellertson; goalkeepers Joe Cannon and Kevin Hartman, and midfielders Amado Guevara, Eddie Gaven and Leslie Osborne.

Defender Chris Armas and midfielder Jason Kreis, currently Orlando’s coach, are in their final year of eligibility. Former midfielder Ben Olsen, now D.C. United’s coach, is among the holdovers.

Other men on the ballot include goalkeeper Pat Onstad; defenders Gregg Berhalter, Frankie Hejduk and Tony Sanneh; midfielders Chris Klein, Eddie Lewis and Steve Ralston; and forwards Jeff Cunningham, Clint Mathis, Jaime Moreno, Ante Razov, Taylor Twellman and Josh Wolff.

Women on the ballot include goalkeeper Briana Scurry; defenders Kate Sobrero Markgraf and Heather Mitts; midfielder Aly Wagner; and forward Tiffeny Milbrett.

Voting will take place among men’s and women’s national team coaches, Major League Soccer and National Women’s Soccer league management, U.S. Soccer Federation leadership, Hall of Famers and media. Each voter can list up to 10 players, and a player must appear on at least 66.7 percent of ballots to earn election.

Among those on the builder ballot are former USSF President Bob Contiguglia; referee Esse Baharmast; coaches Gene Chyzowych, Eddie Firmani, Gordon Jago and Joe Machnik; and administrators Richard Groff, Tim Leiweke, Francisco Marcos and Kevin Payne.

The 15-player veteran ballot, voted on only by Hall of Famers, has George Best, Chico Borja, Mike Burns, John Doyle, Marco Etcheverry, Linda Hamilton, Mary Harvey, Chris Henderson, Dominic Kinnear, Shep Messing, Cindy Parlow, Tiffany Roberts, Mike Sorber, Tisha Venturini-Hoch and Roy Wegerle.

The hall’s building in Oneonta, New York, closed in 2010. A new facility in Frisco, Texas, is under construction and slated to open in 2018.

Second thing Brian Ching doesn’t like: NWSL cooling breaks

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Former Houston Dynamo forward Brian Ching has already been in the news once today for criticizing Eddie Johnson, but given his role as Managing Director of the NWSL’s Houston Dash, a tweet from the former U.S. international has provided another bit of news. Though the idea of cooling breaks seems to have been met with a positive reception by the league’s fan base, the Dash executive questioned the need for the league’s new policy.

The comments came after Wednesday’s announcement the women’s first division had implemented a procedure that would allow for 30th and 75th minute breaks should the heat index at a match reach 89 degrees Fahrenheit, as measured one hour before kickoff.

Referencing seven years’ playing experience with the Dynamo, Ching questioned the need for the procedure, which saw Wednesday’s meeting between the Dash and league-leading Seattle Reign fall under the guidelines.

[tweet https://twitter.com/brianching/status/494676365262606336]

It’s strange to see a league executive speak out against what’s supposed to be a safety measure, though there are some valid criticisms of the league’s decision. Whether 89 degrees is the right threshold has been the strongest.

Ching’s comments, however, reference something different. There’s a clear “two miles in the snow” feel to his tweet, with his “back in the day” appeal implying soccer was just fine the way it was. The World Cup puts some new-fangled idea in people’s heads, and all of a sudden the rest of us have to follow?

Of course, it’s not great logic, nor should we expect Twitter to be filled with thought out, cogent appeals. Still, there’s a closed-mindedness to this that becomes unsettling when we’re talking about issues to player safety. “Back in the day” doesn’t work regarding two-footed tackles, concussion protocol, or dehydration issues, particularly when the view’s coming from one of the league’s decision-makers. Whether Ching walked barefoot through his snow is irrelevant.

Perhaps the NWSL’s threshold is too low. Maybe the league can listen to dissent and raise the bar. But again, that’s not what Ching’s tweet is about. To him, what was good enough for 2007 Brian is good enough for the 2014 NWSL. While that isn’t the worst argument ever, it’s a mindset that would keep the game from evolving in the face of new information.

For somebody who’s setting policy at a club-wide level, it’s a discouraging point of view.

Eddie Johnson response to Brian Ching’s criticism? “Scoreboard”

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Brian Ching did a guest-hosting stint on a Houston podcast last week, and said Eddie Johnson is the sort of player who thrives in contract years.

On Thursday morning, Johnson responded by saying that Ching is just jealous and should look at the scoreboard.

Certainly Johnson is no stranger to controversy and Ching seems guilty of breaking something akin to hockey’s “code” in talking about an ex-teammate.

So what exactly did Ching say? And what was Johnson’s response? Does the latter make any sense?

First, Ching’s comments, thanks to the great Dynamo Theory:

“Played with him, you know, and he is one of those guys that every time he is getting close to playing for a contract or proving himself he goes out and he does his work and you’re like, ‘Wow okay!’

“But once he gets that contract or DP status he tends to disappear a little bit. It’s kind of like he is fighting so hard to prove that he’s good that when he gets there he just kind of stops doing the things that made him successful. That’s one of the things I’ve noticed about Eddie playing with him…

“If I was to sign him I would say ‘Hey here’s $10,000 a goal. You’re making $50,000 or you’re making $100,000 you want money score goals.’ He that kind of guy…He loses that drive, that mentality once he gets rewarded or gets his contract.”

EJ’s response:

The takeaway? A lot of hot air.

Say what you will about Ching’s choice to air his opinions (as a broadcaster), but it’s hard to find a lot of merit in Johnson’s jealousy argument. The only time the two were on the same team was with the United States — at times — from 2004-2010.

Ching scored 11 times in 45 matches, while Johnson has 19 goals in 63 matches. That gives EJ the advantage in goals-per-appearance at .30 to .24. Not a massive difference, but an edge nonetheless. Johnson is also correct that he has more caps than Ching.

But a lot of this is apples and oranges. Ching played nearly his entire career in Major League Soccer, while Johnson has bounced from team-to-team around the world in a journey that’s gone from the U.S. to England to Wales to Greece and back to the U.S. Both were snubbed from World Cup teams: Ching at 32 and Johnson at 30.

And how about the jealousy point? Who played more during their time on the national team before Ching’s cut from the 2010 roster (that Johnson made) effectively ended his time as an international?

2004:
Ching 4 apps, 2 goals
Johnson 3 apps, 5 goals

2005:
Johnson 6 apps, 3 goals
Ching 6 apps, 0 goals

2006:
Johnson 11 apps, 1 goal
Ching 9 apps, 2 goals

2007:
Johnson 11 apps, 2 goals
Ching 5 apps, 1 goal

2008:
Ching 7 apps, 4 goals
Johnson 6 apps, 1 goal

2009:
Ching 11 apps, 1 goal
Johnson 2 apps, 0 goals

2010:
Ching 2 apps, 1 goal
Johnson 3 apps, 0 goals

Totals (2004-2010):
Johnson 42 apps, 12 goals
Ching 44 apps, 11 goals

Not exactly margins for jealousy, though Johnson has probably had the more recognizable career. Still, isn’t this a case where Johnson is better off leaving well-enough alone, to rise above it? That’s not his reputation — and maybe Ching should’ve kept his opinions to himself — but bickering with Brian Ching? Yes, EJ’s three goals in three games is making his awful start to the season look a lot better — four goals in 17 matches total — but easy, big man.

As for the incentive-laden contract jab, that’s above my pay grade this morning.

Brian Ching takes new role in Houston Dynamo family

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Brian Ching spent almost his entire playing career with the same organization – even if the organization relocated halfway across our big land midway through the man’s career. Either way, he’s a Dynamo man through and through.

And it that it will remain that way.

Ching is the recently retired, former U.S. international who is Houston’s all-time leading scorer. He was a big element of the Dynamo championship teams in 2006 and 2007 and a supporting piece of the teams that made it to the MLS Cup final in 2011 and 2012. He had made

The Hawaii native had been a willing ambassador and the interest seemed mutual of having Ching move into the Dynamo front office upon his retirement at the end of the 2013 MLS season.

Today we know of Ching’s capacity as he moves into the next career phase:

The 35-year-old has been named managing director of the Houston Dash, the newest National Women’s Soccer League. The club, which will play its inaugural NWSL season in 2014 (the season begins in April), will be run by the Dynamo.

Ching will apparently be more than a day-to-day front office manager; he will also attempt to gin up sales and awareness by making himself publicly available as the face of the organization.

First up, finding a coach for the team and then preparing for the expansion draft, tentatively set for January.

Dynamo to celebrate today’s Brian Ching testimonial with Landon Donovan in net?

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Major League Soccer’s first ever testimonial game got an on-field boost, as Houston’s BBVA Compass Stadium now features an orange No. 25 in the middle of an otherwise all-white center circle for Brian Ching’s testimonial this evening.

Unless there’s been a misplaced asterisk, Landon Donovan will spend some time between the sticks in the contest, according to the Houston Dynamo press release, which comes after a retirement party and roast of Ching on Thursday evening.

The benefits from the star-studded match will go to “The House That Ching Built,” the longtime forward’s foundation designed to benefit Habitat for Humanity.

Participants for the 730pm ET match are divided into an orange team and a white. Rosters are below:

source:

From the Dynamo site:

In addition, the game will feature the following coaches: Corey Ashe, Ricardo Clark, Stuart Holden and Matt Reis. Juan Pablo Galavis is a former professional soccer player who will star in season 18 of The Bachelor, set to begin in January.