The United States men’s national team is around two weeks from returning to World Cup qualification. With that in mind, we thought it’d be interesting to evaluate how some of the team’s top players are doing this season. While all the MLS guys are just beginning their seasons, the players playing abroad have been hard a work. In this series, we’ll be talking to writers who cover the teams these players play for to get a good sense of how they are doing headed into the return of the Hex.
In previous installments, we’ve caught up with Christian Pulisic and DeAndre Yedlin. For this post we got in touch with Hertha Berlin USA (@HerthaBerlinUSA on Twitter), which is a must-follow for any Americans hoping to keep tabs on John Brooks and/or Hertha Berlin in English. We asked them to give us some insight on Brooks and here’s what they had to say:
1. Give us an idea of what John Brooks' current form is as of writing this
John Brooks has been very reliable thus for this season. While Hertha has hit a bit of a slump recently, Brooks is the one defender you can always count on. His hashtag #WallOfBrooks is well deserved. He comes up with a crucial interception or tackle at least once a game. Furthermore, he's hardly ever injured and doesn't shy away from tackles, which is just what you need from a CB.
2. Comparing his performances this season to previous ones, how would you say he's improved? Have any key facets of his game gotten significantly better?
He has become much more consistent and reliable. He used to be a guy who you wouldn't trust 100% because you knew he'd slip up once or twice a game. Now, that's gone. I can't remember the last time he made a truly terrible mistake. Furthermore, he has become much more dominant in the air, winning pretty much every header in our half. If he can translate that talent into being a threat in the opponents box, he'll be even more valuable. He definitely has a lot of potential.
3. What do Hertha fans think of his international responsibilities? From past reports, the club doesn't seem too happy with him playing for the USMNT.
Well I can't speak for all Hertha fans, but I believe playing for your country is an extremely valuable experience for any player, especially young ones. In addition, Brooks usually starts for the USMNT so it helps his leadership qualities and overall development. I think people are concerned with the long trips, possible injuries and tiredness after international trips to America. However, that's all part of being a professional athlete so it shouldn't matter too much. I'm convinced that an athlete like Brooks knows how to deal with these scenarios.
4. Pretend you're Professor Berlin and give us a grade for his performance so far this season.
I would give Brooks a B+. He's consistent and reliable, gives his all, tries to motivate his teammates, and strives for greatness. However, he's still young and has to continue developing and learning. With his physical presence, becoming a threat in the opponent's box is a goal I would set to myself if I were him. Hertha has been giving up a bunch of unnecessary goals lately, and while that's not entirely on Brooks, he should be the one stepping up and getting the defense together and on the same page in terms of positioning and marking.
I hope he'll stay in Berlin for a few more years. He has a lot of potential.