Brian Ching isn’t going to retire. In fact, he’s ready to join the Montreal Impact.
The longtime Houston Dynamo forward told the Houston Chronicle that he has reversed course on talk of retirement after he was drafted by the Impact in the MLS Expansion Draft in November, and that he will give it a go when the club begins camp ahead of its inaugural season in MLS.
"I've decided I'm not going to retire," Ching told the Chronicle. "I'll report to Montreal when camp opens."
Ching, 33, was drafted first overall in the Expansion Draft in the days following the Dynamo’s 1-0 loss to the LA Galaxy in the MLS Cup, despite threatening to retire and join the Houston front office if taken by Impact head coach Jesse Marsch.
The Dynamo left Ching unprotected in the draft under the assumption that Ching’s salary would discourage the Impact from taking a risk on him, and that Montreal would instead lean on younger, less-expensive talent to make their way in 2012.
"I just know [Marsch] as a competitor on the field,” Ching told the Chronicle in November. “He's a competitive guy. He's a guy that's been successful in the league. I have nothing against him, but I wouldn't play for him."
That didn’t deter Marsch, who scooped up Ching with the aim of adding one of the most productive and reliable strikers in the league as a de facto leader during an expansion season. Ching avoided any public statements after he was drafted, but the Dynamo instantly expressed their opinions about losing the face of their franchise.
“It’s hard for me to fathom that a team would take a player that doesn’t want to be there,” Dynamo president of business operations Chris Canetti told MLSsoccer.com after the draft. “Whether they intend to trade him, I don’t know what their thinking is at this point. We’re hoping there’s something that can be done to bring Brian back.”
Said head coach Dominic Kinnear, who coached Ching with the San Jose Earthquakes: “I’m very surprised he was selected, and am sad.”
Now, however, it appears there’s still a story to be told about Ching, who is set to enter his 11th season in the league and first outside the Dynamo/Earthquakes bloodline since his rookie season with the LA Galaxy in 2001.
The Impact and Dynamo will meet three times during the 2012 regular season, twice in Houston. The Impact will play at the Dynamo’s new BBVA Compass Stadium on July 21 and Oct. 6. The Impact host the Dynamo on June 23.