May 31, 2014, 9:10 AM EDT
After struggling on March 5 against Ukraine, John Brooks looked more like a prospect for 2018 than a lock for 2014. With his club in Germany, the decision to get a large back, sidelining tattoo before the end of the Bundesliga season meant the young defender was making more news off the field than on. With the likes of Clarence Goodson and Michael Parkhurst seemingly ahead of the young center back in Jurgen Klinsmann’s pecking order, Brooks looked like a 30-man roster call up, at best – a true long shot to make the U.S.’s final World Cup squad.
Proving we know nothing about Klinsmann, those looks proved deceiving. When the U.S. named its final, 23-man squad on May 22, the young Hertha Berlin defender was in the team, one of three young players whose potential for Russia is being leveraged in Brazil. With Goodson and Parkhurst left at home, Brooks is part of the quartet of central defenders at the U.S.’s disposal.
Full name: John Anthony Brooks
Hometown: Berlin, Germany
Position: Central defender
Caps/goals: 3 caps, 0 goals
Club: Hertha Berlin
Best moment in a U.S. shirt: With only 270 minutes played at the senior national team level, there aren’t a lot of moments to choose from, leaving Brooks’ United States debut the obvious highpoint. On August 14, 2013, Brooks started along site Geoff Cameron in central defense against Bosnia and Herzegovina, a game the U.S. went on to win, 4-3. After playing for both the U.S. and Germany at U-levels, the dual citizen had embraced the Stars and Stripes, taking the first step toward his first World Cup.
Starter or squad player at World Cup? On a depth chart of four, Brooks is at the bottom, behind Matt Besler, Geoff Cameron, and Omar Gonzalez. It’s highly unlikely he’ll see action in Brazil.
If circumstances pull Cameron to right back or midfield, Brooks moves one step closer to the field. Even then, it looks like at least one central defender will need to be injured to give Brooks minutes in Brazil.
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