Ramos: Brooks leaning toward playing for USA

JABrooks (Getty)


The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team is facing a tough task at this summer’s Under-20 World Cup, but that challenge could get much easier if John Anthony Brooks is in a U.S. uniform.

U.S. Under-20 national team head coach Tab Ramos told ESPN recently that Brooks is leaning toward playing for the United States, and that he could play with the team at the Toulon Tournament later this month, an event that will serve as the U.S. team’s final tune-up match before the World Cup.

“There’s been a lot of progress lately, that Brooks may be joining us for Toulon, but we’re not 100 percent sure yet,” Ramos told ESPN.com.

Brooks stated last month that he would be making his decision soon on whether he would play for the United States or Germany. With a European Under-21 Tournament looming this summer as well, Brooks was expected to choose soon between countries, though he wouldn’t be officially cap-tied by either the European Under-21 Tournament or the Under-20 World Cup.

A German-born defender who is the son of an American serviceman, Brooks has attended U.S. and German youth national team camps in recent years, but has yet to formally represent either in a major competition.

Brooks has enjoyed an outstanding season with newly-promoted German side Hertha Berlin, which will compete in the Bundesliga next season. The tall and technical central defender projects as a starter on a U.S. Under-20 team that counts centerback as arguably the weakest position in the pool.

Former U-20 captain Walker Zimmerman has been battling injuries all year and is a major question mark for the tournament, while Colorado Rapids defender Shane O’Neill has done well to earn consistent playing time with the Rapids. Caleb Stanko started alongside O’Neill in Under-20 World Cup qualifying, but is a natural defensive midfielder.

Brooks would give the U.S. a strong aerial presence and a potential stabilizing force in central defense, which would be vital in a World Cup group that features Spain, France and Ghana.

What do you think of this development? Excited at the prospect of Brooks playing for the U.S.? Still not sold on him committing to the United States?

Share your thoughts below.

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54 Responses to Ramos: Brooks leaning toward playing for USA

  1. Josh D says:

    Ramos, keep your trap shut. There’s no need to cue the Germans in that they have to work extra hard to get him. Plus, let’s not heave media pressure on him.

    But good news all the same!

    • Old School says:

      “Ramos, keep your trap shut.”

      Precisely by thought.

    • marden08 says:

      Agree. Why open your mouth until you see him on the bus.

    • Shane says:

      This is not the senior team where winning is the most important thing. The U20 World Cup is in part for developing future senior team players and giving them valuable experience. If this kid is on the fence then forget about him and give this experience to those players who are committed to the USA, to the players who helped the team qualify for the World Cup.

    • Mike says:

      Seriously.. I doubt Germany would even bat an eye if Brooks commits to the US. Brooks may turn out to be a really good player but for him to ever make the German NT is a long long shot at best.

  2. cj says:

    With Chandler hurt any chance you see him in a few weeks?

    • Dinho says:

      Doubtful. Still have Dolo and Cameron in front of him.

      If you’re talking Gold Cup, I guess that’s a possibility, but Klinsmann has said that no Euro-based (save Holden and Scandinavian-based guys) players would be called in for the Gold Cup.

      • Old School says:

        How does Cherundolo factor in to JAB not being called up?

        Brooks is 6’6. He’s a CB.

        • Bobb says:

          Because this is the internet and people don’t let their lack of knowledge keep them from formulating (usually strong) opinions.

        • ChrisTheLSUTiger says:

          6’5 according to the article.

    • Bobb says:

      One is a fullback one is a center back, they have nothing to do with each other.
      My personal opinion is that we SHOULD see him in any case, on the bench. It doesn’t look like Klinsmann agrees. Maybe Besler’s recent injury will make that happen… or maybe if Klinsmann keeps Cameron at RB instead of moving him back to CB.

      • Riggity says:

        Welllll, since everyone here is so smart and knows they (Brooks and Chandler) play different positions. You would think they would be smart enough to remember that Cameron plays both, so if Chandler can’t go, it’s conceivable that Brooks could replace Chandler on the roster while pushing Cameron out wide.

        • Bobb says:

          Thanks for reiterating what I said at the end of my comment, but it’s pretty clear the first few guys who mentioned Brooks and Chandler were not making that connection.

        • Old School says:

          Since we’re throwing around assumptions, I’m also assuming you acknowledge Cameron has looked like utter crap at the RB position too.

          His future, hopefully for the Nats, is at CB.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      Toulon is May 28-June 8 and the U-20 worlds are June 21-July 13. USMNT friendlies and qualis are May 29-June 18 and the Gold Cup group round is July 9-16. Generally assume it’s mutually exclusive.

      • The Imperative Voice says:

        On the plus side for the viewing fan that is a lot of US soccer to watch.

  3. Freddie Footballer says:

    Can someone explain why he would not be cap tied by playing in either tourney this summer? Is the requirement that you play in a senior side official competitive match? Also, if he played for US this summer, he could still file a one time switch to Die Manschaft?

    • Dinho says:

      You got it, gotta be a senior full-team match to be cap-tied.

      Not sure about the one-time switch question.

    • Joe+G says:

      Here’s the deal:

      If a dual national represents one of his countries in a youth (U17+) official FIFA competition (not a friendly or a regular tourney — has to be the level of Uxx Euro Qualifying or U20 WCQ), then that player is “provisionally tied” to that country until he files a one-time switch. Once he is provisionally cap-tied, he can only represent the 1st country he played for at any level.

      To be fully cap-tied, he has to play for a full NT in a competition — Euros, Gold Cup, WC Qualifying. Friendlies don’t count.

      So, to answer your question, JAB could play for the US in the U20 WC and still file a one-time switch to Germany down the road.

    • Nicholas says:

      Yep. One time switch would be in play no matter which event he chooses. It really wouldn’t be a disaster at all for him to choose GER in this tournament but obviously, the US could do something very bold and call him in for qualifiers in the fall. That’s not so far fetched given that he’ll likely be a Bund1 starter.

  4. Dinho says:

    Is it me or doesn’t he look like he could be Danny Williams’ little (big) bro?

  5. Jeb says:

    That would be sweet! Not getting my hopes up yet…

  6. Jermaine says:

    YESSSSS!!! That is all, back to your regular scheduled programing.

  7. T.J. says:

    Eff it. have Klinsy call him up and see if he’s interested in a call-up to the Nats for the Gold Cup. Tie him down now if he’s willing. No more one time switch after that

    • Bobb says:

      Our genius coach Klinsmann has never even contacted Brooks, according to an interview Brooks did with a Bundesliga podcast recently.

      • Jamie Z. says:

        Oh, come off it. Some people will jump at any opportunity to bash Klinsmann. Have some perspective. It’s clear Brooks is in regular communication with Claudio Reyna and I’m sure Reyna and Klinsmann have discussed the situation at length. Right now, they seem to be dealing with the kid primarily at the U-20 level. It’s not like he’s not on our radar and Klinsmann is being derelict in his responsibilities or something.

        • Broadsthooligans says:

          Exactly, he’s a U-20 player being checked out by the u-20 coach. He’s a solid talent, but not the type that’s an obvious shoe-in for a senior team spot (though he’s got an argument). It’s a big stretch to get mad at Klinsi for not contacting him personally when the US is clearly in touch with him.

  8. PD says:

    I’m not a praying man, usually, but in this case my rosary beads are gonna get some serious miles…

  9. Chris says:

    Really crossing my fingers for this guy.

    If he commits to the USMNT then we’re set at CB for 2-3 world cups.

    • MIKE R says:

      Thats what we thought about forward at the height of the shortlived Charlie Davies/ Jozy partnership

      • Nate Dollars says:

        yes, when predicting future lineups, we must always include the caveat: “barring any horrific and tragic car accidents”

        that said, it is worthy to note that we thought the same about chandler. it really doesn’t take any time for a player to hit a run of poor form and make us look like idiots.

  10. dude says:

    I hope he comes to the US, I think he could be part of something special. The problem is that he truly does have the potential to play for a young German side with incredible potential. This is one case where I hope he just has the desire to play as an American, and can’t really fault him if he makes the other choice. He’s a young man born overseas with a a huge ceiling.

  11. Roman Lewandowski says:

    Anyone know why the experts aren’t talking about the Gold Cup? This guy seemingly has outgrown the U-20 team.

    • Socom 2 says:

      U20 WC > Gold Cup

      U20 WC has world recognition….. 9 out of 10 people at a random bar wont even know what the gold cup is

    • GW says:


      What Socom2 is saying is there will probably more big time scouts looking for young talent at the Under 20 WC.

      • Riggity says:

        Ya, but the scouting thing has nothing to do with this. He has gotten plenty of attention starting for his club as a 6’5 cb in Germany as a 19 year old. This is about playing in an international competition without locking himself in to the US. If he plays in the u20s for the USA he can still play for Germany later down the road. If he plays in the Gold Cup he is ours forever.

        • Eurosnob says:

          Don’t underestimate the importance of the U20 WC. The number of talent evaluators at the U20 WC is much greater than the number of scouts at Bundesliga 2 games. The US will play against Spain and France and you can rest assured that there will be scouts from virtually every top club/league present for those games. If Brooks has a solid showing at the WC, his agent will be fielding numerous calls from higher profile European clubs with contract offers and his current club will be happy to collect a transfer fee.

        • Broadsthooligans says:

          Sure he would be, but he’s likely to face potentially better competition and get more games with the U-20’s. It’s a longer tournament and this Gold Cup is already a B tournament for everyone involved in Qualifying. Euro and South American U-20’s can put up a better fight than Costa Rica’s B team.

    • SBI Troll says:

      Roman, I am a big fan. Good luck in the UCL and get back to training!

    • SBI Troll says:

      Roman, I am big fan. Good luck in UCL and destroy Bayern, yes?

      • Jamie Z. says:

        The player who will be playing for Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League final is named Robert Lewandowski.

  12. MIKE R says:

    encouraged, but wondering how he has no header goals this season

    • Riggity says:

      I read elsewhere that most of the time Hertha does not bring their defenders up on corners but I cannot say I have seen enough matches to second that.

  13. WorldCitizen says:

    Won’t matter much one way or the other. Firstly, because none of this cap-ties Brooks; and secondly, because with Spain, France and Ghana (our bogey team if ever one was) in our group, we have virtually no chance of advancing from group play at the U-20 World Cup. And where cap-tying is concerned, it would be nice if CONCACAF would do whatever is required to turn our confederation championship into an “official” FIFA-sanctioned competition. The Euros and Copa America have this status, and it makes Conca-Crap look like even more of a pathetic frickin’ joke than it already is that its continental title tournament consists of games that are considered “friendlies” by FIFA.

    • That’s incorrect. Gold Cup games can cap-tie players.

    • Patrick says:

      You know not what you speak. The gold cup is an official, FIFA sanctioned tournament which is why many commenters here want him to play at the gold cup. And with the format of the u20 WC and the talent in the US team, its very very possible for the US to move on.

      • Broadsthooligans says:

        Yup, it’s an official tournament which is treated by the teams involved in WCQ simultaneously as an unofficial one. FIFA counts it.

    • Group of Death says:

      I disagree that the USA has no chance to advance. The sliver lining of a strong group is that in theory no one team will run the table. If this is a group of 4 strong teams, then it is reasonable to think that points may be split and none of the four will be mathematically eliminated on the third game-day. If the USA is in the mix going into the last group game, that is not a bad thing for these young guys to experience. Hopefully they will have what it takes to punch out of the group.

  14. David M says:

    He’ll play for the US only if he decides that he’s not good enough to play for Germany. Just like all of them. The USMNT is turning into a team of second choice.

    • Jamie Z. says:

      And that phenomenon might contribute to our becoming a team of first choice in the future.

  15. Sam says:

    Ramos should ask Klinsman to help him get Fabian H├╝rzeler to play for the US at the U-20 World Cup

    • jlb says:

      way too late for that….

      besides, Hurzeler represented Germany U17, switched to USA, then switched back to Germany (when he found out coach Rogen was fired)…. is he back with USA?