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The USMNT’s blackballing of John Brooks must end for upcoming October friendlies

Imagine telling U.S. Soccer fans that the USMNT have a player consistently starting for a team in Europe’s top five leagues, that team is in the top five of their league and the player is putting up solid performances.

That player would be called up in a heartbeat and the U.S. Soccer social media accounts should be talking about him nonstop. That isn’t the case however, and that’s because the player in question is John Brooks.

The last time Brooks was called up to the national team was September 2021 when he had a nightmare performance in World Cup qualifying vs. Honduras. He was substituted out by Gregg Berhalter at halftime and has never seen the field or been invited back.

After that game he finished his contract with Wolfsburg and had an unsuccessful spell with Benfica in fall 2022 where he hardly played. He then made a permanent transfer to Hoffenheim in January 2023 where the 30-year-old has rediscovered his form.

U.S. Soccer is ignoring Brooks

The biggest case of the USMNT blackballing Brooks is a look at the social media team’s lack of posts about him. Fans have noticed and called out the accounts.

U.S. Soccer posts weekly “How to watch guides" with nearly every national team player. They never include Brooks in the guides and had the audacity to only mention Gio Reyna for the Dortmund vs. Hoffenheim game on Friday.

Berhalter and Brooks didn’t see eye-to-eye during 2022 World Cup qualifying. When asked about Brooks being left out of rosters last summer, Berhalter sort of dodged a direct answer and blamed his club’s playing style.

Fast forward to present day and Brooks is in top form. He has gone the full 90 minutes in nearly every game for Hoffenheim and has helped lead the team to the Bundesliga top five early in the season. They only avoided relegation by three points last season and now they’re playing great.

He was left out of the 2023 Gold Cup roster, however that was due to interim manager B.J. Callaghan wanting to let Brooks complete preseason with Hoffenheim.

“We had a number of good conversations with John. As a starting point, he reiterated his commitment to the national team program and how much it means to him,” Callaghan said this summer. 

“He is coming off a season at Hoffenheim where he was a key member of their fight to avoid relegation. This summer he will have the chance to participate in a full pre-season with them for the first time, so we felt in this particular moment it’s best for him to take advantage of that opportunity and be performing at his highest level in the upcoming season to position himself to contribute to the national team in the future.”

Brooks is surely living up to the “performing at his highest level in the upcoming season” hopes. Now it’s down to Berhalter to call him up.

The USMNT will have two friendlies in October vs. Germany (Oct. 14) and Ghana (Oct. 17). The BS needs to stop now. He’s one of the best center back options available and deserves a return to the Stars and Stripes.

Editor’s note: The curse of the commentator/writer is real. I wrote this story prior to the Dortmund vs. Hoffenheim game and then this Brooks mistake happened. This was his worst game of the season according to FotMob's ratings.

Why me? He still deserves a USMNT appearance.

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