World Cup dream coming true
Wow, the World Cup! The No. 1 sporting event in the world with approximately a billion viewers. Each game is as important and draws the attention of that equal to a Super Bowl, World Series, or NBA final. Who would have thought a kid who grew up on the North Shore of Oahu, would be playing halfway around the world in the biggest sporting event on the planet?
Hearing the announcement about making the World Cup team at a bar in a Denver airport seems funny to me when I think about it. There are a million different places that I would have liked to have been. Though the place may not have been ideal, the company was.
My teammates were all there and let out a loud cheer when my name was shown on television. Separately, each player came up to me and congratulated me personally, which really meant a lot. These men are teammates, family and most importantly a large part of why I believe I made the team.
As a whole, our team played well in the MLS and that helped me become a better player and improve my form. As most people know, soccer is a team game and individual success is a result of team success.
Phone calls, text messages, and e-mails of congratulations came flooding in from family and friends. There were times when I could not answer all the calls I was receiving. This made the subsequent days special, but crazy, and I hope I did not miss saying thank you to anyone.
After things calmed down, I reflected on my career and how I made my way from the shores of Haleiwa to Germany. It began with a soccer scholarship that landed me in the state of Washington, which was the easiest step of all. A trip to the LA Galaxy followed, and a year later, I found myself with the Seattle Sounders of the A League after being cut from the MLS.
It was devastating, but only made me work harder. Back in the MLS and a total of six surgeries later, I find myself where I once dreamed to be. It was not the ordinary path most guys on the team took.
Though the paths we have traveled and experiences we have had have been different, we are one team. All of the men on the U.S. team are dedicated to this one endeavor. It is this dedication and lack of "superstar" egos amongst all this talent that impresses me and is a key to the success of the team.
On or off the field, we all get along. A big part of this may be due to the coach, Bruce Arena. He has created an environment that results in excellent chemistry among all players. Players are treated like professionals and thus love to be there on the field. Time and time again, I hear of coaches who try to micromanage their players, controlling many aspects of their lives. This only results in unnecessary resentment and can lead to frustration and hostility among teammates.
Today, I stand on the practice field in North Carolina with these men I consider friends and not just teammates. It is then, that I think back to only four years ago, when I was sitting in my apartment in Seattle watching the U.S. beat Portugal. I remember saying to myself, "I hope I can make it back to the MLS." Four years later and I am knocking on the door of what millions of kids around the world dream of.
Until next time ... Aloha!
Kamehameha product Brian Ching will represent the U.S. in the upcoming World Cup.