Newly-retired Brian Ching forgoes extended break for unique opportunity with the Houston Dash

Brian Ching high fives the fans

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USA Today Sports

Brian Ching was set to take a long break after calling time on a 13-year MLS career.

An unexpected opportunity, however, has changed all of that when he when he was named managing director of the Dynamo-run National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) franchise, the Houston Dash.

Ching will have control of the NWSL franchise from both the business and technical aspects in his new role. In conjunction with club president Chris Canetti, Ching is already working towards getting the Dash up and running.

“This is a huge opportunity for me and the Dynamo to grow the brand and create a new brand in the Dash,” Ching told MLSsoccer.com by phone Monday. “When I was looking at the offseason I felt I was really burned out from soccer, but with this opportunity I was so excited that I was in the office last week working on things and looking forward to it.”

The new position provides Ching with a new adventure that has done away with any notions of a post-career vacation. According to Ching, he was not sure what would happen and how enthused he would be to jump right into a new project. But as the Dash opportunity surfaced along with a chance to get into a decision-making role presented itself, Ching was ready to jump in.

“I told Chris from the beginning I didn’t want to start until February, but with the excitement of this role that’s not possible and I’m OK with it,” Ching said. “I don’t feel like I need that break to be motivated to jump into this.”

Now Ching will have to get his bearing on the women’s side, which will carry its fair share of challenges; that includes identifying players and naming a coach, a process that both he and Canetti said is ongoing.

“There’s going to be a huge learning curve in that I haven’t followed the women’s game outside of the national team,” Ching said. “It’s something I’m going to have to get into very quickly seeing as we have a college draft coming up and an allocation draft. I don’t think identifying a good women’s soccer player will be hard because I have that skill, but finding out what’s out there is what I’m going to need a lot of help with.”

Canetti will still have a hand in the Dash. The Dynamo president will serve the same role with the Dash and will work closely with Ching as the organization starts to take shape.

“We’ve got a very well-known, well-respected individual within our sport and the soccer community at the forefront of our expansion franchise,” Canetti told MLSsoccer.com by phone. “It made sense to make him the face of this organization and he’ll work very closely with me on this.”

While the Dash becomes his number one priority, the Dynamo will still be a prominent part of Ching’s new role. That role is much less defined, but Ching will still provide assistance to the Dynamo when needed. Whether on the business or technical side, including his upcoming trip to join head coach Dominic Kinnear and the coaching staff at the upcoming MLS Player Combine, Ching is ready to put in the work to make his mark on both of Houston’s soccer franchises.

“I told Chris I do want to be able to help on the male side and help the Dynamo be successful,” Ching said. “Balancing the two is going to be something I’m going have to deal with this year and something Chris is really going to help me out with. That’s something that will play out through the year."

Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.