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Minerva celebrates the World Cup games

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If you’re on the team, play to win even if the odds are against you. That is what John Brooks did in the 2014 World Cup game against Ghana.

“The goal was not only scored by a player who has hardly assured a spot on the team, it came in a game where Team USA lost its swagger — and a couple players due to injury — several minutes earlier.” A.J. Perez, NJ.com

The chips were down. The stakes were high. Ghana, having knocked the US out of the last two world cups, was bearing down, with the score tied 1-1. Even though John Brooks was known for contributing very little to his previous team dynamics, Coach Jürgen Klinsmann, must have seen a risk worth taking when he sent him on the field for the 2nd half of the match. John Brooks will now go down in the history books as the first substitute in US soccer history to score a world cup goal, a thrilling header in the 88th minute, and will be forever remembered as a hero by US soccer fans.

If you are a sideline player, if you’re on a team, and find yourself waiting for a chance to contribute, then take a little inspiration from John Brooks and keep showing up to the game.

Great teams leave room for the possibility that the most seemingly insignificant player can sometimes bring the greatest contribution.

Here’s to the great coaches and team leaders who look a little deeper, who mine for great potential in unforeseen players, who take the risk to call out dormant gifts, even when the stakes are high.

Watch John Brooks’ game winning header.