Veteran USMNT defender John Brooks has signed with Benfica, a club that competes in the top flight of Portuguese soccer. After four matchdays in the Primeira Liga, Benfica sits in first place, undefeated with four wins. John Brooks’ move to the Portuguese outfit comes at an integral time, as Gregg Berhalter announces his 26-man roster for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in November.
Since 2017, John Brooks has made 126 appearances for Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga. The Berlin-born, naturalized American scored six goals for the Wolfsburg outfit after a tenure at Hertha Berlin, where he made 119 appearances. Like many national players, John Brooks looks to catch Gregg Berhalter’s radar in time for the November 9th event in New York, where the American head coach announces his squad for the World Cup.
The defensive line for the USMNT has been a subject of debate in recent months, with conversations about Cameron Carter-Vickers, Walker Zimmerman, and Joe Scally on the hunt for a spot on the roster. The 29-year-old Brooks has made 45 appearances for the USMNT since 2013, scoring three goals. With the average age of the USMNT at twenty-three, Gregg Berhalter’s Stars and Stripes could use some much-needed experience on defense. With this move to Benfica, John Brooks signals a comeback, especially with defensive spots opening on Benfica.
Jan Vertonghen, the veteran defender embarking on his third cycle for Belgium at the World Cup, has been rumored to leave Wolfsburg for Anderlecht. Vertonghen’s move opens the door for Brooks to get ample playing time ahead of the World Cup. Moreover, Benfica is in Group H at the upcoming UEFA Champions League, alongside PSG, Maccabi Haifa, and Juventus.
Historically, Benfica has dominated the Portuguese top flight. However, last season, the club finished third in the Primeira Liga, behind Sporting and league champions FC Porto. The top rank gave them a spot in the Champions League, where they play their first group match on September 6 against Maccabi Haifa – the Israeli Premier League club.

Upcoming USMNT opportunities for John Brooks

Initially, reports stemmed from Mallorca’s interest in the USMNT defender. But with this move to Benfica, Gregg Berhalter will have more opportunities to scout Brooks’ performance in the Champions League. The USMNT has one last training camp underway before the World Cup, with friendlies scheduled against Japan on September 23 and Saudi Arabia on September 27.

John Brooks looks to be included in both matches as the USMNT prepares for the World Cup battle against Wales, England, and Iran in Group B.