Amber Brooks believed it was the perfect time to try the Westfield W-League after signing with Adelaide United on loan from Houston Dash for the 2018/19 season.
The United States central defender revealed that she was searching for a fresh challenge and unique experience having spent the last four straight seasons in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL).
“I had been debating playing in the W-League for a few seasons now,” Brooks explained, who made her Reds debut in Round 1, playing the entire 90 minutes in the 0-0 draw against Melbourne Victory.
“I had been in talks with a few different coaches over the years and different clubs and I reached out to my agent and Adelaide United were looking out for a centre-back.
“And timing wise with everything else going on in my life, both on and off the field, it just kind of worked out.
“I was looking for a new experience and I had played in Germany for a couple of years and had been in the NWSL for five years.
“And as great and competitive as it is, it’s a tiresome and a very mentally fatiguing experience in the US.
“So I was looking for a new experience, a new challenge and a new atmosphere with a different coach and teammates and kind of revived that love and passion that I have for the game.
“So again, I had good conversation with Ivan (Karlović) and it just made sense to join Adelaide.”
And so far Adelaide has not disappointed in the month that she’s lived here, with Brooks admitting it is a much more relaxed lifestyle in comparison to the hustle and bustle of Houston – the fourth largest city in the United States.
“I like the small city feel,” Brooks said.
“It’s easy to get around, much easier than Houston and the people are super friendly and the food’s great.
“The weather you can’t really beat it and you’ve got good soccer on top of it so it’s a great place to be so far.”
Brooks is one of four imports on the books of Adelaide, joining compatriot and teammate Veronica Latsko, and two Icelandic internationals.
One of Head Coach, Ivan Karlović’s, objectives this season was to sign foreigners who possessed great pedigree and quality to complement the younger squad.
The 27-year-old ticks all of those boxes, having played professionally for the previous six years, accumulating over 125 games.
Upon signing she knew part of her role in the team was to be somewhat of a mentor and help provide advice to the younger players.
For Brooks, that is something not unusual due to her natural leadership attributes and has captained Houston too. She insists it is a responsibility she is embracing and is working on forging a solid partnership with United skipper, Emma Checker in the heart of defence.
“I’m a bit older in comparison to a lot of the girls in the team,” she said.
“I think even when I was a younger player because of growing up in the US youth national team system.
“And having gotten to UNC (University of North Carolina), which is such a strong program I just have naturally been a little bit of a leader.
“I’ve usually been one of the more experienced or older players on the team, especially in Houston the past few years.
“I’m very vocal so it didn’t matter how old I was, so I think maybe if a coach doesn’t initially know my personality but a few training sessions in they kind of get to see that.
“And I’ve never been one to shy away from that and speaking with Ivan and Emma (Checker) they specifically targeted internationals that were a bit older and more experienced.”
Brooks has been capped once by her country which occurred against Brazil in 2013, while playing for German Bundesliga giants, Bayern Munich.
Indeed, the then 21-year-old began her professional career with the Bavarian outfit, quickly enhancing her footballing resume before returning to America and moving to Portland Thorns and then Seattle Reign.
“When I was coming out of college, my last semester of college, there was no women’s professional league in the US,” she revealed.
“So my mindset was that I knew I was going overseas, and I was particularly interested in Germany because I toured Germany before and I was in contact with a few teams.
“And I just thought their style of play would suit my strengths.
“I was really happy to join Bayern Munich I mean they’re one of the largest and best clubs in the world.
“Pep Guardiola was the men’s coach at the time so just being in that culture and that environment where everything is soccer.”
Having now played football in three different leagues, Brooks suggested plying her trade in Australia will allow her to improve on areas of her game not conducive to the NWSL.
“Coming to Australia I think it’s a perfect balance between the NWSL,” she explained.
“NWSL is super intense every game, anyone could win and there’s world superstars on every team.
“Here I think again it’s a little more German, in the sense that it’s very team orientated, it’s also very competitive on any given day.
“But I think the style is a little bit more relaxed… I think we’ve a little bit more time on the ball so what I can’t necessarily do in the States, I’m trying to work on here and vice versa.
“That was a big reason for coming here to really work on those parts of my game.”
Adelaide United host Canberra United in Round 4 of the Westfield W-League 2018/19 season on Thursday, 22 November at Coopers Stadium. Kick-off is at 7.00pm ACDT.