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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted at 2:24 p.m., Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Ching: Don't give up on U.S. soccer vs. Ghana

Advertiser Staff

Don't give up on the U.S. Men's National Soccer team just yet, forward Brian Ching said.

"We have read some comments that (Ghana is) already talking about playing Brazil but I think we have a lot to say about that," Ching said in an e-mail Wednesday. "The guys know that we have to win this game or we are going home and no one is ready to go home yet."

The Americans must win their game against Ghana (which will air on ESPN Thursday at 3:55 a.m. Hawai'i time) and hope for a win by Italy over the Czech Republic in order to advance to the second round. The United States (0-1-1) is last in Group E with one point. Italy (1-0-1) leads the way with four points, while Ghana (1-1-0) and the Czech Republic (1-1-0) each have three. Two teams advance from each pool.

"Ghana is a good team that has gotten better after its first game," Ching said. "I feel that Italy wants to win that game to assure themselves of first so they won't have to face Brazil. The Czech team struggled last game and have some key injuries and suspensions so it will be a difficult game for them."

Ching, who collided with teammate Oguchi Onyewu during a practice before the start of the World Cup and needed 13 stitches on his forehead, said he is healthy and ready to play. He has not seen action in the team's first two games.

"It all depends on the situation in the game but if I don't (play) it has been a wonderful experience and something that I will want to experience again — but next time playing," he said.

Ching said in their free time, the players watch some of the other games, but not as many as he expected.

"We are around soccer so much that we need a break once in a while," he said.

Usually the team begins the day with practice, then goes to a spa for a cold bath. After a team meal they attend meetings about its opponent.

The players are free for the rest of the day, and choose to take naps, hang out with their families, go to nearby cafes or play cards.

Players usually go to the gym in the afternoon before dinner before catching the evening game.