Rest is a foreign concept to Amber Brooks. She played in the Frauen-Bundesliga and then jumped straight into the 2014 NWSL season with the Portland Thorns. At the conclusion of the season, she went back to Germany to play half a season with Bayern Munich. Now back stateside, Brooks is in the preseason and is ready to thrive. Part of this comes from the fact that she finally got the opportunity to rest, but another part of this is thanks to her experiences in Munich.
"It is definitely a very tactically oriented game," said Brooks about her time playing for Bayern. Throughout her time in Munich, Brooks was challenged by the team and by the rigorous training sessions. "Thomas [Wörle] is a great coach, and he does such a great job of explaining to us what we need to be doing and what our role was," Brooks said.
When I asked her about the differences between the Frauen-Bundesliga and the NWSL, she said, "I never want to say that either league is better, because they play different games. In America, it is a very individualistic game that is more open for players while in the Bundesliga the game is very team oriented and structured." Brooks believes that her time with Bayern gave her a clear role that allowed her to develop and thrive.
This style of training and play has helped Brooks develop who she is as a player. "I see myself as being a true number six but I like to attack and I want to score goals, so it always helped to be able to look right or left and know who's going to be there and what they're going to do." Now that Brooks is back in the NWSL she is hoping to build this familiarity with her new teammates and new team. "I'm excited for what this season brings. It's definitely exciting to be back in the States and to be playing for a new team."
With a real offseason, Brooks was able to finally get the rest that she needed. "I was able to come home around the holidays and I didn't touch a soccer ball for a few weeks. It was really nice to finally get a break," Brooks said. "I'm ready to get back into it very soon." Brooks spent the offseason splitting her time in North Carolina and New Jersey before reporting to camp. When I got the chance to speak with her in February, she was in New Jersey training for the upcoming season. The NWSL season kicks off the weekend of April 10th and Brooks is excited for the challenge. "I've been a professional for three years now so I'm looking to take more of a leadership role this year".
I asked her how her transition back to America has been. "Sometimes I catch myself saying commands in German," Brooks said "but I am definitely glad to be home." The lessons that Amber Brooks has learned at Bayern Munich are sticking with her for the long run.