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Brooks back in full training with Hertha Berlin

JohnAnthonyBrooksHerthaBerlin4 (BZBerlin)


U.S. Men’s National Team fans can breathe a sigh of relief.

Hertha Berlin defender John Anthony Brooks took part in full training with the club on Wednesday, the first time he trained regularly with the rest of the squad since suffering a sprained knee in early January. The training recap on Hertha’s website said that Brooks looked very happy to be back.

The injury was the latest in what’s been an up and down season for Brooks, dealing with an elbow injury last fall, the recent knee injury, and getting pulled in the first half and eventually benched after a poor performance last December against Werder Bremen. Brooks began working individually with the ball on Jan. 28 and had been training on his own until now.

It’s unknown whether the 21-year-old German-American could play this Saturday for Hertha at Hamburg but his return to training comes at a good time for his international hopes. USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s recent comments on the upcoming friendly at Ukraine suggest that he will call-up a squad of European-based players for the match, which would almost certainly include Brooks.

Brooks remains able to play for both the U.S. and Germany because both of his USMNT appearances came in friendly matches.


What do you think of this news? Glad to see Brooks recover from his injuries? Think he earns back his starting place for Hertha this season? Do you see Klinsmann selecting Brooks for the Ukraine friendly?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. 3rd CB could see a big role in Brazil…injuries, yellow cards, etc. It’s not like Omar Gonzalez and Matt Besler are the most consistent pair either especially the former.

    • Why does it seem like so many fans have kind of turned on Omar? Outside of the poor clearnce against Beligum I can’t think of any goals that were directly his fault. I also thought he bailed Cameron out a number of times against Scotland. As a pair I think they’ve only lost once and that was in Costa Rica. I’m not saying either are amazing but its not like they’ve been awful either.

      • John,

        First of all this is SBI. People here always remember the last bad thing a player did and judge their entire career on that basis.

        As for Gonzo, I think you have nailed it. He has not been awful except for the times when he has been awful.

        Read what you just wrote about him.

        “Outside of the poor clearnce against Beligum I can’t think of any goals that were directly his fault. I also thought he bailed Cameron out a number of times against Scotland. As a pair I think they’ve only lost once and that was in Costa Rica. I’m not saying either are amazing but its not like they’ve been awful either.”

        I think you are being kind but even so if that is the best you can say about how a player of his stature has performed over the past year or so, then alarm bells should firing off.

        He’s supposed to be a dominant player, consistently dominating. At worst he was supposed to Gooch 2.0, the director’s cut. . He can be that way in the air sometimes but then The Group of Death guys will just keep it on the ground and beat him there. He’s been inconsistent, mediocre, hot and cold, whatever you want to call it.

        He was supposed to be what the back four needs, a Vidic, a rock, someone the other team would be looking over the shoulders for.

        It beats putrid but the totality of his performance is not exactly what the US needs going into the group of death. Germany and Ghana have the players to mess him up and then there is that guy who plays for Portugal, who just happens to love cutting inside from either wing.

        Mostly Gonzo looks like he is doing just enough to get on that plane.

        The US needs more from their centerbacks.

  2. Whew! That’s a relief! I am so relieved an un-cap-tied, uncommitted, unproven inconsistent teenage 3rd or 4th defender on our depth charts is training!

  3. Brooks has had a crummy season even when he has been healthy and lost his lock on a starting spot months ago. He was a starter in August and made some massive mistakes in games in September and it has gone downhill from there and by mid October he was no longer a starter and in late October and early November he was relegated to the second team. He finally made the first-team roster in early December against last place team Braunschweig, went 90 minutes. He started again on December 13 against Bremen and was so bad he got yanked in the 38th minute and hasn’t seen the field since.

    I don’t understand how people can be talking him up as a WC candidate. Is it because he grew up in Germany that he’s just gotta be better than Chris Schuler and Clarence Goodson and Michael Orozco? Brooks is not ready for the World Cup. Would be a disaster waiting to happen.

    • to be fair to him, he only had one bad game in August (v. Hamburg) but was still rated the best Hertha Berlin defender by Kicker. and yes, then he got yanked early again on December 13 after one game back from his first injury. but he still appeared to be the starter because the coach said, “Otherwise, this won’t be the last time I pull him early.” that obviously implies he plans to start him again.

      granted he sat the next game out, which i get, but then it was winter break. then he gets injured with a PCL strain in early January and is just now coming back.

      so while i agree people need to wait and see how he bounces back, he has not had the chance to redeem himself from that game in December. if he can get back to his August form, when he made Kicker’s Best XI twice, i don’t see why he couldn’t be a 4th option at CB for the WC. it’s a long shot and he is on the outside looking in, but it’s not like people’s faith in his talent is unfounded.

      frankly, with Cameron, you only need 3 other CBs, IMO. right now that would be Omar, Besler, and Goodson.

      • If JAB gets his starting spot back for Hertha, I think he’ll be taken over Goodson. Goodson is serviceable against CONCACAF teams, but after that it gets dicey. I don’t see us leaving a mid-table Bundesliga CB at home if he’s getting good PT.

      • Gonzo/Besler are looking shaky coming down the stretch.

        For Ukraine I can see Cameron-Brooks with Gooch-Williams coming in at halftime or some combination thereof.

        Brooks will get a shot because JK has invested a lot of time in him for what I assume must be a very good reason.

        People have been whining about JK’s personnel decisions but given the results and the record, those decisions have, for the most part, while perhaps aesthetically unappealing, worked.

      • they certainly didn’t look fantastic against SK, but they are also in pre-season. didn’t they end qualifying pretty well?

        Gooch should absolutely get a run out if he keeps playing. no reason not to. i’m not so sure about Williams or Cameron at CB though. these guys are in great form in their current club positions. i’d like to see:


        wouldn’t mind seeing Mix play behind the striker in place of AJ either. if Bradley does not go, Williams p;lugs right in and we get a real #6/#8 combo.

        as for LB, that could go a few ways. Johnson moves back, Shea starts, and Chandler is a sub. wouldn’t be upset with that either. or maybe Lichaj starts at LB, Johnson stays at LM while Shea and Chandler are subs.

        one thing is for sure, i can’t wait for March!

    • Huh? When he’s been healthy this year and been able to go a full 90 (only 4 times) he’s played extremely well…twice he earned Kicker Bundesliga Team of the Week out of those 4 times…Luhukay rushed him back way to early especially when Langkamp got injured…there’s no denying the talent when he’s healthy, it’s just his coach put him back on the field before he should have out of desperation and his play was clearly hampered by injury (see the Bremen match in how slow he looked).

  4. GK: Tim Howard; Brad Guzan

    DEF: Timothy Chandler; Geoff Cameron; John Anthony Brooks; Fabian Johnson; Eric Lichaj; Oguchi Onyewu; Zak Whitbread; Tim Ream

    MID: Alejandro Bedoya; Jermaine Jones; Mikkel Diskerud; Clint Dempsey; Joshua Gatt; Danny Williams; Sasha Kljestan; Brek Shea

    FWR: Jozy Altidore; Aaron Johannsson; Juan Agudelo; Terrance Boyd

      • Doesn’t mean they have to play. Only 18 players are on the roster on gameday which means Whitbread and Gatt would be 2 out of 4 players who won’t dress up they can still be called in to train with the national team.

      • Whitbread isn’t getting playing time, he won’t be there. Packwood is more likely to be called then him. much more, IMO.

        as for Gatt, fair point. Gatt is promising and JK has looked at him in the past. i’d actually like to see him included even if he is “24” and has no chance to play.

        also, why do you have Dempsey? Seattle plays a game and I doubt he misses it. Bradley, however, has no game and should be in the roster, i would think.

      • Switch Packwood for Whitbread if you like still doesn’t mean he’ll get playing time. Rumors are stating that Fulham will try to keep Dempsey until the end of the season if that’s the case then he’ll be called up.

      • it’s not about playing time dude. it’s just more likely that Packwood would get a call over Whitbread. you can see why, right?

        where did you read that about Dempsey? i had not heard that.

    • Klinsi will call in and play JA Brooks. We will know real soon know if Chandler has a chance to make it to the WC depending on how he does if he even gets a call (suspect he will). The next friendly against Ukraine holds a lot more intrigue than this last January Camp.

  5. ——————–Jozy—————




  6. fantastic news! despite his troubles before his injury, the coach, despite being angry, implied that Brooks is the starter and that he needs to be smarter or he will lose that spot.

    • is klinsman not calling in mls based players? Gonzo + Besler definitely seems like our first choice CBs now. Wouldn’t count on Chandler for anything…

      • His latest interview implied that he may not call in any US-based players. You raise a good point, though, as he may bring in Gonzo and Besler for some continuity. Will be interesting.

      • seems like he does not intend to. he said maybe a few, which Ives thinks could be someone like Bradley who does not have an MLS game during that FIFA date.

      • A couple days before MLS opening day lets fly a couple of marquee players to Ukraine… Ya i hope he doesn’t call them.. Idk Jurgen never really seems to prioritize convenience.

      • You’re probably right, and with the form Chandler has been in I would say Cameron over Gooch. What I would honestly like to see though, is Cameron at CDM next to Jones, obviously that’s if Bradley doesn’t get a call.

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