My name is Amber Brooks and I am a twenty-two year old professional “footballer” for FC Bayern München in the German Frauen-Bundesliga. I played for UNC in college where I won two NCAA National Championships and absolutely loved my time in Chapel Hill. After finishing my eligibility in December, I decided to join Bayern over the winter break and moved to Munich in early January. I played the second half of the season with the team and we ended up finishing fourth in the league and semi-finalists in the Pokal Cup. I enjoyed my experience and felt as though I improved in just the short time, so instead of returning mid-season to play in the NWSL, I elected to continue my contract with Bayern for another season.
After a six week break which I spent at home, in Canada training with the US Women’s National Team, in Hawaii for my brother’s wedding, and of course, in Chapel Hill with my college teammates, I had to return to Munich to begin preseason. We began training on July 8 and by my count we will have amassed more than sixty training sessions and eight scrimmages before our first Bundesliga game on September 7th. I couldn’t be more excited for our first game, not only because it will signify the end of our nine week preseason, but because it is away against the Treble winners (Bundesliga, Pokal Cup, Champions League), Wolfsburg. The team is stacked with German National Team players who just came off of winning the EUROs, and although we will undoubtedly go into the game as the underdogs (a role I absolutely love by the way), our team is coming together quite nicely and boasts a couple German, Austrian, and Swiss National Team Players as well. We are a very young team, (I am only 22 but am still in the older half of the team), but we are ambitious, have good team chemistry, and work extremely hard. For many years, Potsdam and FFC Frankfurt, and lately, Wolfsburg, have been the top teams, but we are ready to challenge for the top spots and strive to qualify for Champions League next season.
I am fortunate to have three other “Amis” (nickname for Americans) on the team with me at Bayern. Sarah “Apple” Hagen and Niki Cross were the first to join the team in January 2012, and Gina Lewandowski, who played for five years for FFC Frankfurt, joined the team last summer. Although it is not easy living so far away from home and all that I know essentially, I think it is a testament to the club and our teammates that all four of us have remained in Munich despite the NWSL starting back up in the US. The first eight months of my professional career have been an adjustment both culturally and without my friends and family nearby, but I realize that I am fortunate to be playing for one of the most respected clubs in the world and that my time in Germany will assuredly be a once in a lifetime experience that helps me grow as a player and person.
Amber Brooks is a 22-year-old midfielder currently playing for Bayern Munich in Germany. She was drafted in the fourth round of the NWSL draft by the Portland Thorns. You can follow her on Twitter or follow her blog.