The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

June 17, 2014

Brooks' goal happened just like in a dream

— NATAL, Brazil (AP) — Smiling ear to ear after winning a World Cup match with his first international goal, John Brooks had a story to share.

"I told some teammates that I dreamed that I scored in the 80th minute and we won the game," he said. "And now it was the 86th minute and we won."

One of the surprise picks by U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann, Brooks hadn't been in the starting lineup for the Americans' World Cup opener against Ghana. But after central defender Matt Besler felt tightness in his right hamstring during the final five minutes of the first half, Klinsmann sent the 21-year-old Brooks on for the start of the second.

Just four minutes after Andre Ayew's 82nd-minute goal wiped out a lead Clint Dempsey had given the U.S. just 29 seconds in, Brooks outjumped Ghana's John Boye to meet Graham Zusi's corner kick and bounced an 8-yard header past goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey.

Overcome with emotion, Brooks ran in disbelief, slumped to the ground arms first and felt teammates pile onto him. When they finally moved off, he put both hands to his lips and blew a kiss.

Brooks thought back to two nights earlier and the dream.

It also was on a header.

From a corner kick.

Just liked it happened.

"It was unbelievable," Brooks said. "I couldn't believe it."

Klinsmann chose Brooks over Clarence Goodson, an unused substitute on the 2010 World Cup team. Among the five German-Americans on the 23-man roster, Brooks made his national team debut last August and had only four appearances entering the World Cup. He was benched twice last season by Hertha Berlin, his club in the German Bundesliga, for a poor performance in December and being unable to train in April because he was hampered by a tattoo on his back.

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