Everything you need to know about new American hero John Brooks

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When John Brooks came on for an injured Matt Besler at halftime of the U.S.'s 2014 World Cup opener against Ghana, many fans groaned. The U.S. had a 1-0 lead to protect and Brooks hadn't proven himself to be the most reliable option. Ghana eventually equalized in the 82nd minute and it seemed the U.S. would have to settle with just one point in what was seen as their most winnable match in a difficult group. But then John Brooks happened — heading in a corner kick for an 86th minute winner. The fans couldn't believe it, Ghana couldn't believe it, and even John Brooks couldn't believe it.

So who is this guy and what magical planet did he come from? Here is everything you need to know about him...

-He's only 21 years old and was born in Berlin, Germany — the son of an American serviceman from Chicago and a German mother. He is one of five German-American players on the U.S's World Cup squad.

-At 6-foot-4 he is one of the tallest players on the team, but still only the second tallest centerback behind Omar Gonzalez, who is 6-5.

-He is apparently now the greatest American since Abraham Lincoln.

-He appeared for both the U.S. and Germany at the youth level before committing to the U.S. in July 2013, when he made his senior debut for the team.

-To illustrate his two nationalities in unusual fashion, he has a tattoo of Berlin on his left elbow and a tattoo of Illinois on his right elbow.

(Ottmar Winter/Bild)
(Ottmar Winter/Bild)

-His goal against Ghana was both his first international goal and the first scored by a U.S. substitute in the World Cup. It was only his fifth appearance for the U.S. national team.


-When asked about his allegiances, Brooks recently said, "When I'm here I'm a full American. I play with heart for America."

-At the club level, he plays for Hertha Berlin in the German Bundesliga. He turned down Germany's biggest club, Bayern Munich, because he felt he had a better chance of playing right away at Hertha.

-He was left out of Hertha's squad for a match in April after he got a "large-scale back tattoo" that the club feared would become inflamed.

-He has a dog named Cash.

-As someone who is also named Brooks, I can confirm his awesomeness.

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Brooks Peck is the editor of Dirty Tackle on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him or follow on Twitter!