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John Brooks to leave Wolfsburg at end of Bundesliga season


U.S. men’s national team centerback John Brooks will be looking for a new club at season’s end.

Brooks will leave Wolfsburg this summer, ending a five-year tenure during which he’s been a consistent starter, the club announced Tuesday. The veteran centerback had previously been linked with discussing a longer stay at Wolfsburg, but no deal was agreed upon between the two parties.

Wolfsburg had opened talks on a contract renewal in January, according to a report from German outlet HarzKurier. Those talks appear to have stalled, leading the club to cut Brooks loose at the end of June.

Brooks has made 21 appearances for Wolfsburg this season, featuring in the UEFA Champions League group stage last fall. Wolfsburg had been in relegation trouble, but a recent uptick in form has them 12th in the table.

Brooks joined Wolfsburg for $22 million in 2017, after establishing himself at Hertha Berlin, the club he came up through his youth career. Brooks has totaled 235 Bundesliga appearances in his career.

USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter has recently left Brooks out of his plans since a poor showing in a World Cup qualifier against Honduras in September. Brooks could potentially fight his way back into the picture as the 2022 World Cup approaches, with the USMNT heading into its final WCQ window this March. At 29-years-old, he could provide a valuable veteran presence, if he can convince Berhalter to give him another look.

Wolfsburg will face Union Berlin, Freiburg, and Bayer Leverkusen before the March international window.


  1. Good Luck to him wherever he lands. The US would be better off if he is playing well and healthy than without him. I do question if he would actually start, but he would certainly be a very strong backup; better than McKenzie or Sands, especially with regards to decision-making and physical presence and different than Richards who is faster but not as physical.
    Right now, I think the 2 best CBs for the US are Zimmerman who has picked up the attacking aspect of his game and M. Robinson who apart from a couple careless passes has been outstanding.
    Of course, defenders can really only be judged by their play over a several games against strong opponents. The MLS backs do suffer in that regard in the sense that the attackers they face weekly are not as strong as those faced by Brooks and Richards. Of course, defense is a group effort and familiarity with teammates matters. In that regard recently Zimmerman, M. Robinson and Richards (sometimes McKenzie) have been had some time to play together.
    How long will the team have to train together for Qatar given that the European leagues and MLS will all be in full swing leading up to the World Cup, I suspect the availability of players for a pre-WC camp will be limited in duration.

    • Remember FIFA and the European leagues changed the 2022/23 club schedule so that leagues take an extended break to accommodate the winter WC in Qatar. Clubs are required to release players by Nov. 14th. and the tournament starts Nov. 21st. We’ll probably have 2 friendlies…possibly 3 before the cup starts depending on the date of the first match.
      There will be Nations League games in June (4 games?) and there is a FIFA window in Sept. (2 games)…so there should be a minimum of 4 competitive games and 2-4 friendlies after WC Qualification ends. If Gregg is smart (something I question) he’ll use these dates/games to finalize his roster and get the team chemistry dialed in.

  2. Hoping he lands on his feet this summer, and quickly, for himself and the USMNT. Brooks and Yedlin are the only world cup veterans we have and now both are going thru club changes… My feeling is we will need them both with such a young team.

  3. Brooks has always been a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde player for the USMNT. He seems to struggle when excessive travel is required and when he gets isolated. But when he’s in a tournament environment where travel is less and he has extended time with his teammates the strengths of his game (distribution and reading angles) shine through.
    If used correctly he’s still one of our top CBs and should be in the national team picture. Being in Gregg’s dog-house for so long seems to be short sightedness on Gregg’s part. Especially considering the only instances people have been able to point to have been frustration with some players (the same many of us fans have had issue with) who had been making poor on-field decisions.
    I wish him the best where ever he lands next.


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