By Keith D. King
On Saturday Nov. 8th, the University of San Diego football team played a mid-season exhibition, but with a twist. USD hosted the University of Las Americas Puebla, a private University from Cholula, Puebla, Mexico. UDLAP is one of the more dominant teams in Mexico, bringing in a current 9-0 record.
Though the build up to the game offered its own unique mystique, there was another story within the game. Jordan Brooks, an African American from San Diego was coming home to play in front of his family and friends for the first time in college.
Brooks, a former Wide Receiver from St. Augustine High School along with his cousin Milton Earls, are the first African American students to ever play for the University.
“After my senior season we played in an All American game against Mexico,” said Brooks. “My coach at the time also coached a team in Tijuana, once he told us about it we decided to go play, and we thought that it was a great opportunity to get full ride scholarships to one of the colleges down there.”
Some would assume that going to another country to play football and attend college would be a nerve racking experience, especially right out of high school. But not Brooks.
“After playing in a few games, my coach came and told me that the college I attend now was interested in me, I was so excited that I actually reached out to them immediately the next day.”
Brooks earned a five year scholarship to the University, where he is now majoring in International Business while being a Freshman Running Back.
I asked Brooks about the language barrier and has it made school more difficult.
“When we first got here it was a little difficult, but now it’s not really a problem. Everyone at the University has to learn a 2nd language, so while I’m learning their language, the other students are also learning English.”
Brooks explained to me how much he loved his decision to attend the University and how excited he was for the opportunity to play football with a full scholarship.
“I would encourage anyone to look into going to a University outside of the States, especially this one. I just feel that I was given a 2nd chance to do something great here. I love it.”
USD pulled out an exciting game 49-25 in front of close to 1,800 fans. For Brooks it was much bigger than just the game.
“It was amazing coming home and playing in front of my family and friends, just seeing them was great, it had been months since I had seen them, so that was great.”