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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Ching to play for U.S. national team

By Leila Wai
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hale'iwa native Brian Ching has been called up to the U.S. National Team for a FIFA World Cup qualifier against host Jamaica, making him the first player from Hawai'i to be a part of the prestigious process.

"I'm pretty stoked," said Ching, a Kamehameha Schools graduate. "I was excited. It definitely is going to be the high point in my career."

Tomorrow's game will be televised live on ESPN2 at 1 p.m. Hawai'i time.

Although Ching has played in two games with the U.S. National Team, those games were "friendlies," or international competitions.

Playing in a World Cup qualifier is a much bigger deal, according to Ching.

"The qualifying match you are actually playing for a spot in the World Cup, so if you win or lose, it actually means something," Ching said. "Qualifying games you definitely need to win to make it to the World Cup."

The United States, ranked seventh in the FIFA World Rankings, is trying to qualify for the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

Ching, who is tied for first place in MLS scoring with 10 goals, received a voice message from U.S. coach Bruce Arena, telling him the good news.

"I never really thought I would get called in this soon, coming back from my Achilles," Ching said of the season-ending injury he suffered to his right Achilles' tendon last year.

But it has been a good year for Ching, who was selected as a starter in the Sierra Mist MLS All-Star game and scored a goal for the Western Conference.

He also made his second appearance with the U.S. National team in a game against Poland July 11. He earned his first cap, or international appearance, in May 2003 against Wales.

Ching said the players selected for the qualifying match will likely fly to Miami and then to Jamaica.

"It's just the next step for where I want to be in my career," he said.

Reach Leila Wai at lwai@honoluluadvertiser.com or 535-2457.