Ching to play for U.S. in World Cup
By Leila Wai
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Leila Wai
The World Cup is more than a month away, but Brian Ching is eager to play.
Ching, a Hale'iwa native and Kamehameha Schools alum, yesterday became the first player from Hawai'i to be named to the U.S. roster for what is considered one of the world's most popular sporting events.
"I feel like I'm ready to play a game, I've got butterflies in my stomach," Ching said by phone from Denver. "I'm really, really excited."
Ching, a forward, was one of 23 players picked by coach Bruce Arena for the World Cup, which begins June 9. Other players named to the roster include midfielders DaMarcus Beasley and Landon Donovan, and goalkeepers Tim Howard and Kasey Keller.
Ching found out he made the team while watching ESPN at a sports bar at the Denver International Airport. He was en route to Houston, where he plays for the Houston Dynamo.
In the days leading to yesterday's announcement, Ching "tried not to think about it too much. I thought my chances were 50-50. Our team was out at the owners' ranch, fishing and golfing."
Ching was departing Denver after a successful weekend when he scored in a 1-0 win over the Colorado Rapids.
He credits his selection to the U.S. roster to his play in Major League Soccer and past performances with the national team, when he scored two goals in three World Cup qualifiers.
Arena cited big games Ching had in the qualifiers, and also for his fast start in the MLS this season, according to The Associated Press.
Ching, one of four forwards selected, said his next goal is "obviously to get on the field, and to score in the World Cup would be the ultimate goal. I want to continue to work hard and train well over the next month."
Ching will play against FC Dallas on Saturday, and then training camp starts May 10 in North Carolina.
"Hopefully, it brings a lot more attention to Hawai'i, both from media and coaches around the country," Ching said of his selection.
Ching was the 1996 Interscholastic League of Honolulu Player of the Year for Kamehameha, then went on to earn all-conference honors playing for Gonzaga. He enjoyed a breakout season in the MLS in 2004, when he was named an All-Star.
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