Despite 45 U.S. National Team caps and often seeming to be a favorite of coach Bob Bradley, Houston Dynamo striker Brian Ching was cut from the World Cup squad when it came time to name the final 23-man roster. A shock to some, even though the 32-year-old Ching was coming off a troublesome hamstring injury, the big Hawaiian is now back in MLS as the U.S. team makes its final World Cup preparations in South Africa.
As the Dynamo visited the Los Angeles Galaxy on Saturday night, the home fans made sure Ching was aware of his disappointment over all of this by chanting "U.S. reject" and other insults at him throughout the game. A bit harsh and mean-spirited? Yes. But by the generally low standards of sports fans everywhere, not particularly unusual, either.
Still, a sad Ching, who was originally drafted by the Galaxy back in 2001, admits that these verbal daggers hit their mark.
"It affects you a little bit," said Ching after the game. "But that's the nature of the game." [...]
"There's always people that are out there, try to put you down," Ching observed. "It's part of being a professional athlete—not everybody likes you." [...]
"I was just thinking that I got farther than every single one of them chanting," said the winner of multiple MLS Cup titles. "So, if they want to try to mock me about it, look at themselves first."
Meanwhile, those people mocking him who may or may not be lacking self-awareness achieved their collective goal as L.A. won the match 4-1 and Ching failed to score.
When asked about his thoughts about the national team, Ching, almost in tears, said, "No comment."
Clearly those meanies in the stands dug into an open wound for Ching — something other loudmouths in other cities may try to recreate now that they know how much it gets to him. For Ching's sake, hopefully he can get past this soon, use it as motivation and show these people how little their opinions should matter to a seasoned pro.
Photo: Getty Images