John Brooks

John Brooks (CARLOS BARRIA / REUTERS / June 17, 2014)

In a flash, the U.S. has a new favorite soccer player.

Sorry, Landon Donovan. Move over, Clint Dempsey. Step aside, Alexi Lalas. You're all playing second fiddle to John Brooks -- at least until the Americans' next game (which is Sunday against Portugal).

The 21-year-old defender stole the show in the United States' World Cup opener Monday against Ghana in Brazil. His dramatics were set up by Dempsey's goal 29 seconds in and Ghana's equalizer in the 82nd minute. Brooks then scored in the 86th minute to secure a 2-1 win and give the Americans three huge points in the "Group of Death."

The U.S. did suffer two potentially devastating leg injuries Monday: forward Jozy Altidore and defender Matt Besler both left the game and may be out for the tournament.

For now though, U.S. fans are all smiles. Here are six things to know about America's soccer hero of the hour.

He's part of history

The defender's tally was the first U.S. goal in the World Cup scored by a substitute. His header came off a corner kick by Graham Zusi, also a substitute in Monday's game. Nice teamwork!

He's got hops

Three minutes after his goal, in the 89th minute, Brooks elevated to block a dangerous-looking header by Ghana's Michael Essien. If not for that play, the U.S. might be "celebrating" a draw instead.

He chose the U.S.

Brooks was born and raised in Berlin and courted to play for Germany; his professional club team is Hertha Berlin. Maybe it helped that the U.S. coach is Jurgen Klinsmann, a legend of German soccer.

He's got Chicago ties

On his left arm, Brooks has a tattoo of Illinois with a star where Chicago would be. That's in honor of his father, an American serviceman who was born in the one and only Windy City.

He really likes tattoos

Best to keep Brooks from the tattoo parlor for now. He missed a Hertha Berlin game in April as he recovered from a fresh, sensitive back tattoo, which annoyed the crap out of his coach. (Source:

He's got speed

At least, he wants everyone to think so. "I think I am calm on the ball. I have good passing skills. And I am not as slow as I seem," Brooks told in August, laughing as he said that last part.