Houston Dash anchor and defender Amber Brooks is set to make her 100th appearance in the NWSL league on Opening Day this Sunday afternoon at BBVA Compass Stadium (5 p.m. | TICKETS). Fittingly, she will become the 22nd player in league history to hit the milestone, matching her jersey number.
“I think I can call myself a true pro now,” the club’s reigning Defensive Player of the Year told reporters on Tuesday.
Drafted in 2013, Brooks enters her sixth NWSL season. The co-captain formed part of the U.S. Women’s National Team in 2013 and played a key role on the 2013 NWSL championship-winning squad with the Portland Thorns.
In 2018, Brooks stood out as one of six field players in the NWSL to play every minute of every game, playing a vital role in the team’s winningest season to date. That reliability and professionalism is a point of pride for a veteran who prefers to lead by example.
“On the field and off the field, I’m doing what I need to do so the coach has enough trust in me to select me to play games and contribute as a teammate,” Brooks said, acknowledging that while teammates such as Rachel Daly and Kealia Ohai score highlight-reel goals, her role with the team is to provide grit and determination.
Brooks first stepped foot onto the pitch at BBVA Compass Stadium in 2014 as part of the visiting team in Houston’s inaugural game against the Portland Thorns. On Sunday, the veteran is set to step on the field for her fourth year with the Dash on the cusp of a career milestone.
“We’re incredibly proud that she’ll be playing 100 games”, says Dash head coach James Clarkson. “If you look at the last few years, she doesn’t miss games. She’s not getting suspensions or injuries, and that’s all credit to her.”
For a coach, having that expectation of consistency be established by a player is invaluable.
“Every single day, every single game, every single activity we do, and every single preseason game, she has poured 100%,” says Clarkson. “That sets the standard to every single player, whether they’re a veteran or a rookie. She sets the standard.”
The defender attributes her success to her support system throughout her professional career.
“The reality is that getting to 100 games means you’ve done a lot of sacrifices in your life,” explains Brooks. “You don't get to 100 games in this league without having a really strong family, friends, partner or whoever is around you to keep you going.”