An all-star in each of his first three years at LU, Brooks was seen as a lock, a rock-solid given in the middle of the Voyageurs back line. He has not disappointed.
The key cog to a defensive unit that has limited opponents to a total of just six goals in the team’s first eight games this fall, Brooks has delivered.
Suiting up with competitive outfits in both Whitby and Ajax, Brooks really came into his own while playing at the U15 level, benefiting from a fortuitous shift on the pitch as he made the move to Ontario Youth Soccer League (OYSL) soccer with the Woodbridge Strikers.
“The coach came to me one winter and said that we had a kid that wanted to change positions, asking if I wanted to move to centre-back,” said Brooks.
Originally a left outside back, the 20-year-old Voyageur found the position fit better with his skills.
“I’m not really the fastest guy,” Brooks said. “(But) I’m one of those guys who just doesn’t want someone to beat me.”
With a university decision that pitted York and Western against Laurentian, Brooks chose to make the move north, attracted by the lure of the SPAD program and what appeared to be a great fit on the soccer pitch.
“(Coach) Carlo (Castrechino) had said a couple of times, when we met, that he expected me to start right off the bat,” Brooks recalled.
The progressive climb in his game really came together as the 2012 campaign came to a close.
“For me personally, in terms of turning the defensive side of the game around, that last weekend of the season, the back-to-back shutouts against Ryerson and Toronto, gave me the confidence to show what I could do at the back end,” Brooks said.
While his personal development continued, the team goals were simply not met last fall, with the Voyageurs underachieving, by their own candid admission. Not so in 2013. Coming off back-to-back 2-1 upsets of the Carleton Ravens, the Laurentian men have surprised many.
No one, however, is surprised with the play of Cameron Brooks, the defensive rock in a city that knows a thing or two about rocks.
Randy Pascal is the founder of SudburySports.com and a contributing sports writer for Northern Life.