John Brooks Embraces Soccer Stardom by Helping the U.S. Beat Ghana in Brazil

The goal that made it into the goal was awesome. It was a head shot into the goal.

TIME

John Brooks looked as if he could hardly believe what he had done.

During the 86th minute of the U.S.’s opening World Cup match in Brazil, the 21-year-old defender executed a perfectly timed header from a corner to grab the lead against perennial World Cup nemesis Ghana.

Then he collapsed as three of his teammates piled on top of him to celebrate the goal. The game was Brooks’ first competitive match with the senior national team and his debut at the world’s most watched sports tournament.

The goal proved decisive as the U.S. triumphed 2-1 over the Black Stars, who had beaten the American squad in two previous World Cups. However, the mere fact Brooks was even on the field was serendipitous.

The Berlin native had spent the entire first half of the match watching from the bench before he was subbed on to replace star defender Matt Besler, who…

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