Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Surfing is Ching's way back to soccer

By Leila Wai
Advertiser Staff Writer

Brian Ching hopes water therapy helps him get back on the field with Major League Soccer's San Jose Earthquakes.

Jeff Widener • The Honolulu Advertiser

For Brian Ching, surfing is something he likes to do. Now, it's something he needs to do ... not that he's complaining.

Ching injured his Achilles tendon last soccer season, and part of his rehabilitation included surfing.

"Coming back, my trainer told me to surf as much as I could, because he thought it would be good for my Achilles," Ching said. "I've jumped in the water a couple of times. It's pretty much why I come home, to surf. I love it."

Ching, a 1996 graduate of Kamehameha from Hale'iwa, plays for the Major League Soccer champion San Jose Earthquakes.

He ruptured his right Achilles tendon in the 10th minute of a 1-1 tie with the New England Revolution on Aug. 16.

"I still don't know what happened," Ching said. "It was kind of a freak accident. One minute I'm trying to run for the ball, the next minute I'm rolling around on the ground, thinking someone kicked me. I went to step back to sprint forward, and all I felt was a loud pop. It was pretty painful."

Two days later, he had surgery to repair the tendon. Doctors had to sew the tendon back together, but "it is supposed to be stronger now because there is more of the tendon now," he said.

Ching, the 1996 Interscholastic League of Honolulu Player of the Year and an all-conference and all-region honoree for Gonzaga University, was home for the holidays with one thing in mind: to get healthy enough for the upcoming season.

"I was off it for a good month and a half and my muscles atrophied," he said. "Right now I'm just trying to build up the muscles around my Achilles."

He went surfing a couple of times, but when he was doing his rehabilitation, his Achilles was "starting to hurt again, so I've had to cut back on some of my surfing."

Before his injury, Ching was third on the team with six goals and had two assists for 14 points in his first season with the Earthquakes. He started 14 of the 15 games he played in.

Even though injured, Ching remained with the team, even traveling for all the road games, including when the Earthquakes won the 2003 MLS Cup last November with a 4-2 win over the Chicago Fire.

"The last two games were probably the best two games I've been a part of, even though I didn't get to play," Ching said. "It was fun, and it hurt not to be a part of it, as far as playing, but I'm so happy for the guys on the team."

Ching, the only player from Hawai'i in MLS, will rejoin the Earthquakes at the end of this month for training camp.

Let us know

Homegrown chronicles feats of former Hawai'i high school athletes here and away. If you know of any deserving of recognition, give us their names, high schools and graduation years, colleges and sports. E-mail us at: homegrown@honoluluadvertiser.com or contact Leila Wai at 535-2457.

Homegrown appears every Wednesday in The Honolulu Advertiser.
"My goal is to get healthy enough to participate in training camp," he said. "I'm about 70 to 80 percent. It is just that last, final push off, trying to get to top speed. I can go through the motions. I can kick, cut, jump, but not as fast, quick or high as I need to be at this point."

Last May he was named the Los Gatos Brewing Company Earthquakes Player of the Month. He also earned his first cap — or international appearance — with the U.S. Men's National Team on May 26 in a game against Wales, becoming the first Hawai'i player to play for the national team.

"I had a good year," he said. "My confidence was high."

Ching was picked by the Earthquakes last February as their first selection in the 2003 MLS Supplemental Draft, which consists of players signed by MLS teams after January's Super Draft.

His first foray into MLS was with the Los Angeles Galaxy, which selected him 16th overall in the 2001 Super Draft. But he was released after that season and played in the United Soccer League's A-League, which is a level below MLS.

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