Houston Dynamo forward Brian Ching made his retirement official on Tuesday. He will leave the sport at the end of the season.
"If I had retired last year, it would have been more of a difficult decision than it was this year," the 35-year-old told the Houston Chronicle. "My body is telling me that it's time to call it and retire. I can't play 90 minutes at the level I want. My body hurts if I do play over 45 minutes. It doesn't just hurt a couple days after. It hurts an entire week."
The Dynamo's all-time leading scorer has a career 82 regular season goals and eight playoff goals in the league. For the U.S. team, he has scored 11 goals in 45 caps. This season, he has seen his playing time limited in his role as a player-assistant coach.
Houston will host a testimonial match for Ching's charity Dec. 13. The list of invitees includes Landon Donovan, Dwayne De Rosario, Frankie Hejduk, Carlos Bocanegra, Brad Davis, Steve Ralston, Pat Onstad, Jimmy Conrad, Corey Ashe, Chris Wondolowski and John Spencer.
“On the field his contributions have been great; off of the field his contributions have been even better,” Dynamo coach Dominic Kinnear said in a statement. “Because he’s not just happy being a professional athlete, I think he wants to be part of the community. As always, he’s doing something not for the sport, but for the city of Houston. He’s a wonderful person. The highest compliment I could give him is that I wish I could have been his teammate along the way.”
Ching will move into a front-office job with the Dynamo in 2014, according to the Houston Chronicle.