Just over a year ago, Shannon Brooks wasn’t sure where her newfound success would lead her.
The former Monrovia High softball and soccer standout had just signed a national letter of intent to play soccer at North Dakota State University and became the first in her family to attend college.
She was excited for the opportunity that would pay for her college education while at the same time releasing her mother from the stress of having to figure out how to pay for it all.
Not long after, Brooks was one of 10 who beat out 100 players to earn a spot in the Guatemala U-20 national team.
Fast forward a year later, and Brooks finds herself among one of the top talents in the Guatemalan women’s national soccer team after leading them to an undefeated group-play finish to earn a spot in this summer’s Puerto Rico Games and next year’s Women’s Gold Cup at The Home Depot Center.
Brooks – born in the U.S. but eligible because her mother, Susana, was born in Guatemala – spent two weeks in Guatemala and flew back to Dakota just a few days ago. She anchored the defensive back line and gave up only one goal in group play. She assisted in four of Guatemala’s seven goals.
Brooks, who led the Monrovia girls soccer team to two Rio Hondo League titles and was a power hitter on the softball team, will finish the semester this week with a 3.0 GPA and soon will fly back to Guatemala for more training. With Guatemala’s success, other teams have shown interest in playing international friendlies. Among them are Argentina and Mexico in May.
It’s all been a surreal experience for Brooks.
“The experience has been awesome,” said Brooks, who earned first-team All-Area honors in soccer and softball her senior year. “All the hard work paid off since I was a kid. Where I’m at right now, living my dream, the dream that I always dreamed about.”
Brooks has come a long way from when she and her mother had to sleep in their car at a park in Monrovia when the family fell on hard times. The little girl who at 5 years old dreamed about playing soccer at the highest level is living proof that hard work never goes unnoticed.
“I never thought it’d come this quickly,” Brooks said. “Every second I’m on the field I get so emotional and so happy and thankful that I get to be playing and doing something I love to do every day.”