John Brooks insists his 'American identity is at stake' after USMNT snub

Chris Smith
Brooks hasn't featured for the USMNT since September 2021.
Brooks hasn't featured for the USMNT since September 2021. / Matthew Ashton - AMA/GettyImages

Wolfsburg center-back John Brooks has promised to fight his way back into the United States Men's National Team after again being overlooked for the next round of matches.

The 29-year-old is one of the most experienced players available to head coach Gregg Berhalter with 45 caps to his name and almost nine years of German Bundesliga experience under his belt.

But Brooks hasn't featured for the USMNT since their 4-1 World Cup qualifying win over Honduras in September 2021 thanks to a back injury and loss of form. More recently, the defender has been back to his best, but he was once again left off Berhalter's 27-man roster announced on Thursday.

“Months ago, I accepted responsibility for my play and the decision that kept me off a roster. Now, I’m happy I’ve regained my form but unfortunately, I wasn’t invited to camp," Brooks told ESPN commentator Derek Rae.

He continued: “I accept this as the coach’s decision, but I won’t accept that I can’t change this before the final World Cup roster selections. There should be no questions about my desire to play for this team. My plan is to fight as hard as I can to make it back to the USMNT.

“My American identity is at stake, an identity some have questioned over many years. We have all been down and out at different times, but we always fight back and I plan to do the same.”

With German-born Brooks left out, the USMNT face difficult trips to Mexico and Costa Rica either side of a home tie against Panama in this upcoming trio of matches, which will define whether or not they return to the World Cup after missing Russia 2018.

After 11 matches, the Stars and Stripes sit second in the Concacaf qualification group, four points behind unbeaten leaders Canada but four ahead of Panama, who sit in fourth - good for an intercontinental playoff spot but outside the automatic berths.

“We’re excited about the opportunity to achieve our goal of qualifying for the World Cup,” Berhalter said. “We have a group that’s ready to compete and deal with the challenges that come our way.”

The USMNT travel to the Estadio Azteca to face Mexico on Thursday, March 24.