US national team, World Cup player profile: John Brooks

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After struggling on March 5 against Ukraine, John Brooks looked more like a prospect for 2018 than a lock for 2014. With his club in Germany, the decision to get a large back, sidelining tattoo before the end of the Bundesliga season meant the young defender was making more news off the field than on. With the likes of Clarence Goodson and Michael Parkhurst seemingly ahead of the young center back in Jurgen Klinsmann’s pecking order, Brooks looked like a 30-man roster call up, at best – a true long shot to make the U.S.’s final World Cup squad.

Proving we know nothing about Klinsmann, those looks proved deceiving. When the U.S. named its final, 23-man squad on May 22, the young Hertha Berlin defender was in the team, one of three young players whose potential for Russia is being leveraged in Brazil. With Goodson and Parkhurst left at home, Brooks is part of the quartet of central defenders at the U.S.’s disposal.

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Full name: John Anthony Brooks

Age: 21

Hometown: Berlin, Germany

Position: Central defender

Caps/goals: 3 caps, 0 goals

Club: Hertha Berlin

Best moment in a U.S. shirt: With only 270 minutes played at the senior national team level, there aren’t a lot of moments to choose from, leaving Brooks’ United States debut the obvious highpoint. On August 14, 2013, Brooks started along site Geoff Cameron in central defense against Bosnia and Herzegovina, a game the U.S. went on to win, 4-3. After playing for both the U.S. and Germany at U-levels, the dual citizen had embraced the Stars and Stripes, taking the first step toward his first World Cup.

Starter or squad player at World Cup? On a depth chart of four, Brooks is at the bottom, behind Matt Besler, Geoff Cameron, and Omar Gonzalez. It’s highly unlikely he’ll see action in Brazil.

If circumstances pull Cameron to right back or midfield, Brooks moves one step closer to the field. Even then, it looks like at least one central defender will need to be injured to give Brooks minutes in Brazil.

MLS SuperDraft 2018 Live Tracker

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For a few dozen players, hearing their name called up to the big stage will validate all the hard work and sacrifices they’ve made since they were children.

Starting at 11:00 a.m. when Los Angeles FC is on the clock at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, the 2018 MLS SuperDraft will be underway. Many of the top college prospects will soon find out whether they’ll be headed to the Pacific Northwest, New England, the Southeast, Southern California or anywhere in between.

[MORE: 2018 MLS Mock Draft]

This year’s draft class is loaded with attacking talent, from Generation Adidas trio Ema Twumasi (Wake Forest), Mason Toye (Indiana) and Francis Atuahene (Michigan) to Twumasi’s college teammate Jon Bakero.

But potential No. 1 overall pick is a three-time national champion, Thomas Hilliard-Arce, who could become the anchor of a backline for a decade.

Follow along below as we update the picks live as we hear them:

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Bayern signs Germany midfielder Goretzka from rival Schalke

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MUNICH (AP) Bayern Munich signed Germany midfielder Leon Goretzka on Friday on a free transfer from Bundesliga rival Schalke effective from next season.

Bayern said the 22-year-old Goretzka signed a four-year deal from July 1 through June 2022.

Schalke, which Goretzka joined in 2013 from hometown club Bochum, said the player informed the club this week of his wish to join Bayern when his contract expired.

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“We think we did everything in the last months to convince Leon to stay with us,” Schalke sporting director Christian Heidel said. “In the end, it wasn’t enough.”

Schalke had long been engaged in trying to get Goretzka to extend his contract, but was aware of reported interest from Bayern, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus and Liverpool.

“We’re very happy that Leon Goretzka, a German international with big potential, has decided in favor of Bayern despite big-name international competitors. This way it’s ensured that Leon Goretzka remains in the Bundesliga,” Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said.

Goretzka scored 19 goals and set up 13 more in 130 appearances for Schalke.

The club had previously expressed its displeasure with Bayern making public statements about its player after Goretzka was praised by sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic and coach Jupp Heynckes.

Heidel said “we don’t need to hear every day from the Munich people how good our player is.”

Goretzka has six goals in 12 games for Germany.

Pele hospitalized overnight in Brazil

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The most famous soccer player in the world had a scare last night as he was hospitalized in Brazil for “severe exhaustion.”

Pele, 77, was set to travel to London this weekend to be honored by the Football Writers Association, though it looks like that trip has now been postponed.

In the early hours of Thursday morning, Pele collapsed and was taken to a hospital in Brazil where he has undergone a series of tests which appear to point to severe exhaustion,” a FWA statement said. “He remains on fluids while doctors monitor his recovery.

“Thankfully, there is no suggestion of anything more serious than exhaustion.”

Here’s to hoping Pele makes a full recovery.

[MORE: USMNT centerback heads to Championship club]

USMNT centerback Carter-Vickers heads to Ipswich Town on loan

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Cameron Carter-Vickers has a new club to call home for the next five months or so after a rough first half of the season.

Tottenham announced Friday morning that it had loaned the U.S. Men’s National Team centerback to Championship club Ipswich Town for the rest of the season. Carter-Vickers spent the first five months of the season at fellow Championship side Sheffield United, starting 17 times though he struggled recently as Sheffield won just one game he played in during the month of December, losing three and drawing one.

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Carter-Vickers was then recalled earlier this week and now has a new home with a mid-table Championship club, with a new chance to impress. Hopefully Carter-Vickers can recover his form and continue to grow, potentially latching on to another Premier League side next year or breaking into the Tottenham first team.

There’s another interesting American tie-in to this. Carter-Vickers appears to be a short-term replacement for Ipswich Town’s Tommy Smith, who the club states is headed to join the Colorado Rapids ahead of the 2018 MLS season.