|[Photo: Nigel Brooks]|
It’s nearly impossible to put into words how special Friday, December 13 was for 6,523 people at BBVA Compass Stadium. In all reality, each individual person likely has a different moment they’ll hold on to forever from that night. But collectively, all in attendance were there for one single reason - Brian Ching.
After a decorated eight year career in orange, Brian Ching has played his last soccer match in Houston.
After being one of the biggest contributors in helping the Houston Dynamo organization become one of the most supported soccer franchises in the nation and one of the most successful sports teams in Houston, the Dynamo front office put together the ultimate thank you party.
And what a party it was.
Major League Soccer's first ever testimonial match was a fun filled night with a mix of soccer celebrities and Dynamo legends. A lighthearted game among friends - all there to support one of MLS' good guys.
In 2006, Brian Ching picked up his life and moved it to Houston after the San Jose Earthquakes decided to relocate to the Bayou City. Numerous comments have been made about how Ching not only made the move, but embraced his new city.
In his first match in Houston, he electrified the crowd with four goals - as if he was letting Houston know they will come to love the Dynamo and him.
He kissed the word “Dynamo” on the front of his jersey - something that could nearly make you break down some eight years later contemplating what Ching has become to the city of Houston.
“I’m truly blessed that we landed here in Houston in 2006. It couldn’t have been a better chain of events.”
Brian Ching has said many times he feels blessed to have somehow found his way to Houston. Fans are just as equally blessed to have been able to watch him lead this team to so many incredible accomplishments - on an off the field.
On the field with his attitude and competitive nature and off the field with his selfless acts of charity in the community, for eight years Brian Ching showed the world how to be a Dynamo.
The type of man Ching is has garnered respect from more than just players and teammates.
Coaches and players don’t always have the closest relationships, but Brian Ching and Dominic Kinnear have something special. Special enough that Kinnear got to do something so extraordinary on Friday night – play alongside Ching as his teammate for the first and last time.
In the press conference announcing the testimonial match, Kinnear sat next to Ching and had the player emotional when describing the type of person this special player was. “He’s a winner. He’s a competitor. He’s a fighter. He’s honest,” Kinnear said.
“You talk about a big goal; you talk about Brian Ching. You talk about a moment in Dynamo history; you talk about Brian Ching.”
“There’s other people along the way that have heavily contributed to the success of this club; at the forefront has always been Brian,” Kinnear said.
After the conclusion of last night's game, Brian Ching addressed the fans that have always been there to support him and the Dynamo and thanked them for their support. The post game farewell speech went just as expected - it was honest, touching, and memorable. Ching breaking down as he thanked his mother was so genuine and heartfelt - a perfect reminder of how much of a grateful and humble man he is.
Last night was all about Brian Ching. And rightfully so. Kinnear was correct in his comments - at the forefront, there has always been Brian.
In the coming years, Houston will likely find more heroes - but no one do as much for this organization as “Mr. Dynamo” has done.
This organization has been shaped around Brian Ching and the two will forever be linked in history.
As a player, farewell Brian. Thank you for the memories. The orange world is a better place because you were part of it.