Brian Ching joined the Earthquakes in Florida at the end of last week.
John Todd/MLS/

Quakes notebook: Q&A with Ching

Double Session

Earthquakes head coach Dominic Kinnear put the squad through a double session on Tuesday at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. In the morning, the team worked on fitness at the beginning of training, before moving into small-sided possession games. Kinnear finished practice by playing a large 12v12 game that emphasized shape and possession.

In the afternoon, the team split into two groups with 10 players returning to the practice field, while the other 20 players hit the gym. The 10 players that went to the field got some individual coaching from Kinnear, assistant coach John Doyle and goalkeeper coach Tim Hanley. In the gym, players rode exercise bikes, did abdominal exercises and worked out in the pool under the supervision of Quakes head athletic trainer Bruce Morgan.

Q&A with national team forward Brian Ching
Quakes forward Brian Ching missed the first two weeks of preseason while he trained with the U.S. national team in preparation for its match against Trinidad & Tobago. He met the team in Florida on Friday and jumped right into training on Saturday.

How did everything go with the national team this past month?
It is always an honor to be called by your national team. Being called into camp in January is an important step for me as I try to get into the team. I didn't suit up for the game in Trinidad, but going down there with the team shows how close I am to getting into the lineup. With more practice and more time, hopefully I can crack the starting lineup.

How important was that result in Trinidad, given the circumstances surrounding the game?
The team did a great job in a short time to prepare for the game and played well down there. It was a good camp for all the MLS players that came in as well. This win starts us in the right direction in qualifying for the World Cup.

How has it been coming back into Quakes camp with so many new players?
I was excited to get back and see our team, especially because we have so many new faces. In one sense, it was kind of like starting all over again and coming to a new team, but I am very optimistic about the guys we have here and I feel good about our chances this season.

So far the team has played two practice games, how do you feel the team has played?
Well, because it was our first two games, we obviously did some good things and we still have some things we need to work on. The more games we get under our belt, the better we will become.

In 2003, the team turned over the roster quite a bit. Does this year's team have many similarities to that team?
There are some similarities, but this is really a different team than that year and last year's team. In 2003, we lost a lot of players, but we still had a lot of veterans around. This year, we have a lot of changes, but we lost a lot of guys who had been here a while and so we have lost some leadership. That will be the challenge this year, getting new players to lead. I think that different players will step up and we will have a good year.

Now that you are one of the senior members of this team, do you feel more responsibility to lead?
I feel a little more responsibility because I am one of the older players and a veteran on the team. However, having said that, it has always been a collective effort in San Jose, where we have had a bunch of leaders, from veterans right down to young players. I think that we will find that again this year.

Why do San Jose teams develop that kind of collective leadership and team unity?
I think a lot of it has to do with the players that Dominic brings in. He looks for players that will fit into his team and his system. Frank (Yallop) did the same thing. That is why they have been successful here.

How has it been playing with new forwards (Alejandro Moreno and Ronald Cerritos) up top?
So far, things have gone as well as could be expected. I think our challenge will be to understand each other as quickly as we can. I don't have many games to play with Ronald and Alejandro and Roger (Levesque) before the season starts due to national team commitments. This time in Florida will be the most I will get to play with them before first game, so we have to take advantage of it.

You led league in goals last year, do you have any personal goals this year? Team goals?
My biggest goal for this season is for the team to improve upon last year. Last season's record was not representative of a San Jose team, so we want to make sure that does not happen again. Personally, I just want to continue to improve on my own game and get better every day.

You got married in the off-season, how was the wedding and where did you honeymoon?
I thought everything was great. The wedding day was perfect and we were surrounded by a bunch of family and friends, the people that love us. It was a day I will never forget. The honeymoon in New Zealand was a lot of fun also.

Twellman on the Mend

Quakes fourth round draft pick James Twellman has been out of action due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament suffered in his left knee in November. He has joined the team in Florida and looked good in a number of exercises with and without the ball. He worked for about an hour on his own on Tuesday on the field and then did a gym workout in the afternoon.

Two Games on the Docket

The Quakes have back-to-back games coming up the next two days as they take on the Chicago Fire on Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. ET and the MetroStars on Thursday at 11:00 a.m. ET. So far in preseason, the Quakes have lost to Real Salt Lake 1-0 and tied the U.S. Under-20 team 1-1.

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