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John Brooks to leave Hoffenheim, become free agent this summer

John Brooks will be on the move this summer as the veteran defender seeks a new challenge in his club career.

Brooks will depart Bundesliga side Hoffenheim at the conclusion of his contract on June 30, the club announced Thursday. The 31-year-old will be joined by Kasim Adams, who is also set to depart.

“Jay came to us in a highly challenging sporting situation and gave us stability in defence with his enormous experience and his character,” said Hoffenheim Managing Director for Sport Alexander Rosen. “Thanks to his qualities and his remarkable presence, he had an impact on our play from day one. Over the past year and a half, Jay has played a key role in helping us to stay in the division last term and finish this season with qualification for a European competition.”

Brooks made the move to Hoffenheim in January 2023 and proceeded to make 39 combined appearances for the club. He scored two league goals in those appearances, but his playing time took a dip during the second half of the 2023-24 league campaign.

Brooks has logged over 300 appearances during his time in Germany, which previously featured stops at Hertha Berlin and Wolfsburg. The centerback also made five appearances for Portuguese side Benfica before moving to Hoffenheim last year.

Brooks has earned 45 caps for the U.S. men’s national team, last featuring for his country in September 2021 during World Cup Qualifying.


  1. MLS teams usually spend their big cash on forwards and playmakers because of the cap. Not sure he will be in high demand for that price. A lot of travel, playing in hot weather and a slowing Brooks may not get the attention some might think.
    I wish him well but I’m not sold there will be a lot of interest here at a high price.

    • Which is why I think it’d be a TAM deal and not a DP deal. Those guys usually land around the million-dollar range, and then they spend about $350k or so of TAM to buy the deal down to max-cap level.

      He’d be a really good buy at that price…if somebody’s got the cap space and free TAM for it, anyhow.

    • i could see him landing here, the timing is “just so,” he might want to make a last showcase try for the NT under GB’s nose, but he will want a pretty penny, under midseason cap circumstances, and i personally think that a zonal “air marker” is a dumb risk for DP money. for comparison, if richards came back, dude would physically dominate people, shut down the big names, and be an all star. that’s worth coin. but brooks basically stays in offsides line, mediocre mobility, doesn’t mark the star out of the game, couple assists a season. meh

      anyhow, decent chance he does come here. his european market is fizzling, the fact he is nominally still a “pool” guy would have some pull here, even if he stinks.

      • I think it’s too early to say his European market has fizzled… If all the other things that we say are true about him … being on less than $2 million, there are a lot of teams out there who will spend on an experience defender, who reads the game well, who passes the ball ball well and isn’t super expensive… Sounds like the Italian league or Turkey is right up his alley! Or, he will stay right there in Germany with one of those euro eligible teams collect a good paycheck play 25 to 32 games a year and we will be having this conversation again in the summer of the World Cup.

      • he’s 31 and the last thing he needs is another “benfica” type move, particularly if any part of the goal here is make a NT case as a dark horse option like ream did. and ream could do that because he — at the time — was part of the fulham furniture, and thus could say he was ready to go. if he’s already not making NT and makes a move with 2 years left where he sits — he’s done.

        now, he may not care anymore, but that’s different. in which case, biggest team biggest contract, probably in germany. and if he sits, he counts his money. and GB probably wasn’t calling anyway.

  2. Brooks – from all appearances – has made a good career out of 1 and 2 year stays with mid to low table teams and recently promoted teams And good for him. He never seems to be able to make a longer stay. But hasn’t some of his career been because he is not subject to transfer fees? Clubs don’t have to pay his past team and it makes his higher salary more palatable. that has been a good business model for him (and his agent presumably) as a professional footballer. Would an MLS team pay him more than he is making in Europe, and would he want to move to the US? He was never a player who resided or grew up stateside.

    • jones hadn’t lived here or played here, either. it’s kind of do you want a change or transition — or not. jones i think wanted to stay viable for NT and also to transition to a post career here, TV, coaching. henry, same thing.

      also, it’s weird to play for us but never come back here. even our fearless leader GB eventually came back. you’re signing up to represent the US and not where you live. often enough that involves some degree of affection and interest for the place.

      the response would be, but many of that german bunch didn’t come here. FJ, chandler, etc. but then those were the ones people questioned their heart, work rate, etc. chandler just freaking disappeared.

      AJ these days plays in iceland and not here. the 2020 burst didn’t pay off. that does make me curious what he thinks of it all. but you see my point….?

      • Cole Campbell said AJ pulled him aside after a match in Iceland and told him he needed to consider the US because it was a decision he would do all over again.
        Timmy Chandler has made 1.2 million dollars a year each of the last four seasons. 4.8 million and played 146 minutes the last two years total. Why on earth would you walk away from that? There’s been some exaggeration of it but he did say he doesn’t like flying, so MLS not a great option if you aren’t comfortable flying every other week.
        FJ missed large portions of 3 of 4 seasons with injuries. He made 3 million his last season and only made 7 appearances. He wouldn’t have been able to get that in MLS. Maybe in 2014 right after Brazil.
        I believe before he ended up signing with Benfica, JAB tried get into MLS but no one would meet his asking price.

  3. At age 31 Brooks’ best money’s probably in MLS if he wants to make the jump across the pond. I checked; Brooks was making €1,500,000 Euros – $1,625,652 US – and if he wants to continue making that kind of money or close his best shot is probably either the DP route or more likely being a TAM player. He’d roster as an American player and wouldn’t tie up an International spot, and a whole lot of MLS teams would love to have him in the million-dollar range and then use targeted allocation money to buy his contract down to get it under the max cap. In particular I’d eyeball a team that plays in a back three and is big on passing out of the back, since his distribution is probably his main strong point aside from his obvious size and capability in the air.

    He’ll have some options. In particular I think he’d fit Columbus’ approach and tactical style. Does anybody – especially Johnnyrazor – know if the Crew have the cap space for him?

    • Dude, I love the idea of him with the Crew BUT also hate it because they would be unstoppable playing out of the back with his passing range and quality.

      He would fit Nancy’s mold so well. And he reads the game well (much improved over the last 18 months). My biggest Q w/ him is when he has to go 1v1 with blazers on the wing. He pretty smart about tactical fouling early enough to avoid yellow BUT when he gets burned, oh brother!

    • He’s not athletic enough for Nancy’s style. CBs are usually up across the half line. He can’t cover that ground. Camacho is locked into the center spot and the outer CBs Amundsen and Moreira will even overlap with the WBs. JAB can’t do that. There’s no way Crew would go for him.

      • That is the big knock on Brooks and on reflection, I have noticed how high Nancy plays his defenders. He compresses the playing space that Columbus has to defend as well as any coach in MLS. But if you play that high you’d better be fleet of foot and obviously Brooks…isn’t. So I agree – on closer examination, he’s probably not the best fit with the Crew.

        So that leaves a zonal marking system that plays three in the back and needs a big central distributor. On pondering for a minute, FC Dallas does play that 3-4-2-1 under Nico Estevez…he might be a better fit for that.

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