John Brooks grew up in Germany. His father served in the U.S. Army and now reportedly lives in Switzerland. And Monday, in Brazil, his goal beat Ghana.
They don’t call it the World Cup for nothing.
Brooks became the first U.S. player to come off the bench and score a goal in World Cup play, using his head in the 86th minute to give the Americans a 2-1 victory. Or, as his German club team’s website put it, thanks to Google translate: ” Four minutes after the equalizer, the 21-year-old screwed after a corner highest to head the highly acclaimed winner of Germany’s group opponents.”
(This is why soldiers with language skills still get bonuses.)
The score triggered multiple get-to-know-your-soccer-hero stories, most of which covered the basics: He grew up in Germany with an American Army dad and a German mother, he decided to play for Team USA rather than Team Germany after receiving interest from both groups, and you shouldn’t rely on Wikipedia for unbiased information following a soccer match. Ever.
But while you’re reading up on Brooks, don’t skip this piece by Aaron Gordon at PSMag.com, explaining the American military’s role in creating what amounts to an overseas farm system for Team USA soccer. Five players on this year’s roster have German moms and American service-member dads, Gordon writes, and base-sponsored soccer programs in Europe date back to at least the 1950s.