To address that question, this article will grade Brooks' performance against Ghana and provide a scouting report on his season with Hertha.
Brooks vs. Ghana Grade: A
It took United States centre-back Matt Besler straining his hamstring to give Brooks a chance, which he capitalised on while performing on the biggest stage.
Brooks' 86th-minute header against Ghana turned out to be the winning goal.
John Brooks's updated Wikipedia page made me laugh pic.twitter.com/EjSk2s2i8Z— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) June 17, 2014
Defensively, Brooks was solid.
He made two tackles, intercepted two passes, blocked two shots and completed seven clearances.
Though, he was not in position to stop Ghanaian left attacking midfielder Andre Ayew from scoring.
That play was why Brooks received an A instead of an A+.
Brooks Hertha Positives
Along with utility player Nico Schulz, 21, and central midfielder Tolga Cigerci, 22, Brooks was one of the three young guns who received extended starting runs in the Bundesliga under Hertha manager Jos Luhukay.
It is an indicator that Luhukay believes Brooks can make the step up, having been the fifth-best ranked defender in the 2. Bundesliga during the 2012-13 season, per Kicker.
Brooks' physical tangibles combined with a solid technical base mean he has a high upside.
That was why Bayern Munich tried to recruit him, only for him to say no.
"It was not a tough decision," Brooks said, per Brian Sciaretta at the New York Times. "I think I will have more chance to play with Hertha than with Bayern Munich."
Those goals foreshadowed his winner against Ghana.
Brooks Hertha Negatives
Passive defending is Brooks' biggest barrier.
"I don't think he challenged one duel while he was in," Luhukay said, per German newspaper BZ (h/t Greg Seltzer at MLSsoccer.com). "John started yet another match without enough motivation—he's not active enough."
Brooks is a reactive defender, who jockeys when opposing players run at him.
Why? Brooks wants the opposing player to commit an unforced error.
However, Luhukay wants Brooks to be a proactive defender; therefore, he needs to substantially increase his 1.2 tackles and 1.7 interceptions per game average.
An inability to cope with the responsibilities of being a top-flight professional meant Brooks' playing time diminished.
After getting inked, Brooks was dropped.
"The tattoo could lead to an inflammation, and, naturally, that is not good," Luhukay said, per Berliner Morgenpost (h/t Stephan Uersfeld at ESPN FC). "I don't have any understanding for that."
Brooks only played 47.1 percent of the Bundesliga season, so his fitness is a red flag.
- January 8, 2014: "[Brooks] strained ligaments in his left knee in training and is expected to be out for up to two weeks," per Bundesliga.com.
- September 23, 2013: "An MRI revealed Brooks had a hyper-extended elbow, a muscle tear in his forearm, and a small radius fracture," per ESPN FC.
Will watch John Anthony Brooks with interest on Saturday. Jos Luhukay will play him v HSV. Wants to manage him properly and avoid burn out.— Derek Rae (@RaeComm) August 21, 2013
Brooks was the man of the moment against Ghana.
He had a tough season at Hertha, but if he can stay fit and improve his ball-winning ability, he will develop into a top footballer for the United States.
Statistics via WhoScored.com