Raised by a single mom who worked long hours to support her kids, Shannon and her older sister Gillian spent all their time at the big park across the street from their apartment complex. “My mom told the park people, ‘Keep an eye on my daughters.’ And they did.”
At the park, Shannon and her sister played every sport there was, whatever the guys were playing, and they were always the best. Shannon’s sister went on to win an Olympic Gold Medal in softball. “We always joked that whoever got the most accolades was the favored daughter,” says Boxx. “So then when she won a gold medal at the Olympics for softball, I was like, ‘Yeah, you’re definitely the favored daughter now.’ But then I got my medal, and my second and third, and my sister was like, ‘I guess now you’re the favorite!”
When USA teammate Christie Rampone came up to Boxx and said, “Congratulations!” Boxx just stared at Rampone blankly. “What are you talking about?” And that was how Boxx learned of her first call up to the National Team.
National Team coach April Heinrichs called Boxx and let her know the coaches were just bringing her in to get her feet wet, to see how she fared against this caliber of players. “But you don’t really have a chance of making the World Cup team this time,” she told Boxx.
Boxx had nothing to lose and just focused on enjoying being there. At the end of camp, she figured that since she lived nearby, she’d just drive herself home. “I was like, ‘Is it cool if I just leave?’ And they said, ‘Actually come talk with us. We’re naming you to the World Cup team.’ I was like, ‘excuse me?’” Come June 2003, Boxx had earned a starting role, which she kept for the next decade.
In 2013, Boxx had knee surgery and anticipated being out from the National Team for a couple of months. But then she got pregnant and was out for a lot longer than she’d initially imagined.
While she’d been on the team for more than ten years and had won three Olympic gold medals, she found herself having to start over and earn her spot back – and making the 2015 World Cup team seemed nearly as unlikely as it was for her to make the 2003 team. “Getting back to where you were is tough, especially at 37,” says Boxx, whose battle with Lupus, a chronic auto immune disease, didn’t make it easier. The disease was worse after her pregnancy – more pain in her joints, legs, hands, and wrists. “But having been away so long – I missed the game so much and when I first got back on the field, the main thing I felt was excitement to play. I couldn’t wait. I was so happy to be out there.”
THE BIG FINISH
“This is my last World Cup run. It’s so cool to have my daughter at my games; just knowing she’s in the stands is the coolest thing. Even though she’s too young to know what’s going on, I love just having her there to take her picture and be able to say one day, ‘You were there, you were a part of this experience,’” says Boxx.
“I’ve won three Olympic gold medals but I’ve never won a World Cup. That’s the ending I want.”
U.S. National Team: Her rise to the National Team is a unique story in that she made the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup Team without ever previously earning a cap (the only player in history to do so) … Uncapped heading into the final two pre-2003 WWC matches, she was one of the revelations of the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup … Developed into one of the world’s best defensive midfielders and had started every game but one that she played from her debut in 2003 until hip and knee surgeries sidelined her in 2006 … She finished third in the voting for the 2005 FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year … She started 175 of her 186 career matches heading into 2015.
- 2015 Women’s World Cup Champion
- Silver Medal 2011 Women’s World Cup
- Made the first penalty kick in the dramatic shootout triumph against Brazil in the 2011 Women’s World Cup quarterfinal
- Bronze Medal 2007 Women’s World Cup
- Scored against England in the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup quarterfinal
- Bronze Medal 2003 Women’s World Cup
- Made the 2003 Women’s World Cup Team without ever previously earning a cap, the only player in history to achieve that feat.
- Scored against Sweden in the opening game of the 2003 Women’s World Cup and also against Canada to help clinch the third-place match
- Gold Medal 2012 Olympics
- Gold Medal 2008 Olympics
- Assisted on the game-winning goal in the 2008 Olympic quarterfinal win against Canada
- Was on the 10-player short list for 2008 FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year
- Gold Medal 2004 Olympics
- Scored the opening goal of the 2004 Olympics against Greece and had the game-winning assist against Japan in the quarterfinal
- 2011 Women’s World Cup All-Star Team
- 2003 Women’s World Cup All-Star Team
- 2010 U.S. Women’s National Team Captain
- 2006 Algarve Cup Most Valuable Player
- Third Place 2005 FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year
- Scored her only career hat trick vs. Trinidad & Tobago during qualifying for the 2004 Olympics
- Captained the FIFA Women’s World All-Star Team against Germany in Paris in May of 2004, leading her team to a 3-2 victory
- Finished seventh in the voting for 2004 FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year
- Career high for games in a calendar year: 33 in 2008
- Career high for starts in a calendar year: 33 in 2008
- Career high for minutes in a calendar year: 2,807 in 2008
- Career high for goals in a calendar year: 8 in 2004
- Career high for assists in a calendar year: 5 in 2004 and 2010
- Started every game but one that she played from her debut in 2003 until hip and knee surgeries sidelined her in 2006.
2015: 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup Champion... Named to the 2015 U.S. FIFA Women's World Cup roster, her fourth World Cup selection ... Has played in five matches for the USA in 2015 so far, including a World Cup match against Nigeria on June 16, 2015... Saw action in a match for the first time since April 5, 2013, when she went in as a second-half sub during the USA's 3-0 win over Switzerland at the 2015 Algarve Cup... Played in three games during the Algarve Cup, helping the USA to its 10th title after defeating France 2-0 on March 11... Did not see any action but traveled with the team to Europe for the opening matches of 2015 against France on Feb. 8 and England on Feb. 13... 2014: Trained with the team as she came back from injuries and the birth of her daughter in February, but did not play any matches … Returned to training camp in June … 2013: Played in just six matches for the USA, starting them all, before a knee injury sidelined her, knocking her out for almost the entire NWSL season … She then got pregnant, keeping her off the field for the rest of the year … She scored twice in six games for the USA, tallying against Scotland in the opening match of 2013 and against Iceland to up her career goal total to 27 … 2012: Played in 27 games, starting 22, while scoring three goals with three assists … Suffered an injury early in the opening game of the 2012 Olympics and missed the next four games, but recovered in time to start and play the entire championship match at Wembley Stadium in London, playing a key role in the USA winning its third consecutive Olympic gold medal … Played in four matches during Olympic qualifying, starting three … Scored the winning goal against Australia in a 2-1 victory at The Home Depot Center … 2011: Once again had a stellar year in the center of the midfield for the USA, starting all 17 games she played while scoring one goal (against Finland at the Algarve Cup) with two assists … Played 1,344 minutes and became one of just 16 players to surpass 150 caps for the USA … Started five matches at the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup, playing every minute, and was named to the FIFA Women’s World Cup All-Star Team … Made the first penalty kick in the dramatic shootout triumph against Brazil in the quarterfinal … 2010: Started all 18 matches the USA played, one of just two players to do so, and her 1,399 minutes were third on the team … Scored one goal, the 21st of her career, in a win against Mexico … Had five assists on the year … Started all five matches at the CONCACAF Women’s World Cup Qualifying Tournament, registering two assists, and played all 180 minutes in the two-leg WWC playoff against Italy … 2009: Continued her consistent run in the center of the U.S. midfield by starting seven of the eight matches the USA played and playing in them all, scoring two goals … Scored the tying goal in regulation with just seconds left in the championship game of the Algarve Cup and opened the scoring with an early goal during a 4-0 win against Canada in Toronto … Led the USA in minutes played with 614 … 2008:Displayed the form that has made her one of the world’s best at her position, starting all 33 games she played … Finished second on the team in minutes played with 2,807… Scored just one goal, but it was a crucial game-winner in a 1-0 victory against China in January to give the USA the Four Nations Tournament title … Played every minute of all six matches at the 2008 Olympics and was one of the USA’s most important players … Assisted on the game-winning goal in the Olympic quarterfinal win against Canada … Was on the 10-player short list for FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year … 2007: Returned to the U.S. team at the Algarve Cup after recovering from major knee surgery, starting against Finland in the second group match and playing 90 minutes before coming off the bench in the final two games … Tallied her first goal of the year, and first since her injury, against Japan with a header in a 4-1 win on July 28 at Spartan Stadium … Started 14 of the 18 games she played, scoring four goals with three assists … Scored against England in the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup quarterfinal … She started four of the five games in the Women’s World Cup but was given a controversial red card in the semifinal against Brazil and was suspended for the third-place match … 2006: Started all three games at the Four Nations Tournament in China, helping the USA to the title, while scoring on a header against Norway … Started all four games at the Algarve Cup and was named Tournament MVP for the second time (also won the award in 2004) … After recovering from surgery to repair a torn labrum in her hip, she tore the MCL and ACL in her right knee during practice in mid- July at Residency Training Camp and was out for eight months … 2005: Started all four games at the Algarve Cup, playing all but 23 minutes of the tournament … Started all nine games the USA played, was third in minutes played, and scored one goal (against Iceland) with one assist … 2004: Started 31 of the 32 matches she played and was second on the team in minutes played with 2,714 … Scored eight goals with five assists, including a goal in Mia Hamm and Julie Foudy’s last game on Dec. 8 … Scored her first career hat trick against Trinidad & Tobago at the Olympic qualifying tournament in Costa Rica … Started all six games at the 2004 Olympics, scored the opening goal of the tournament against Greece and had the game-winning assist against Japan in the quarterfinal … She captained the FIFA Women’s World All-Star Team against Germany in Paris in May, leading her team to a 3-2 victory … Named MVP of the Algarve Cup in March as the USA defeated Norway 4-1 in the title game … Finished seventh in the voting for FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year … 2003: Played in the final two matches before the Women’s World Cup, her first two career caps and starts, and scored goals in both games … Started all five games in which she played at the 2003 Women’s World Cup … Scored against Sweden in the opening game of the tournament and also against Canada to help clinch the third-place match … She was one of three U.S. players named to the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup All-Star Team … Set a U.S. record by scoring in her first three matches, against Costa Rica and Mexico right before the Women’s World Cup, and then in the tournament opener against Sweden …2002: Called into training camp in January in Charleston, S.C. … 2001: Participated in training camp in October in San Diego, Calif. … Youth National Team: A member of the U.S. Under-21 National Team pool during 1995-96 … First Appearance: Sept. 1, 2003, vs. Costa Rica … First Goal: Sept. 1, 2003, vs. Costa Rica.
Professional / Club – 2014: Played 245 minutes while starting four of the five games in which she played for the Chicago Red Stars at the end of the season after taking off the first part of the year to give birth to a new baby in February … 2013: Allocated to the Chicago Red Stars for the inaugural NWSL campaign, but ended up playing in just two matches, starting one, before a knee injury sidelined her for the rest of the season … 2011: Signed with magicJack for the 2011 WPS season and played 833 minutes in 10 games while starting them all … Helped the club make a run to the playoffs in the second half of the season and win the quarterfinal match against the Boston Breakers … Played all 90 minutes for magicJack in both playoff matches … 2010: Started the season with St. Louis Athletica, playing every minute of six games while scoring one goal with three assists, but after the team ceased operations, she signed with FC Gold Pride, helping the squad to the WPS regular season title and championship … Started 19 of the 20 total games she played … Totaled one goal with five assists on the season … A WPS All-Star Game starter and the fifth overall vote-getter … 2009: Allocated to the Los Angeles Sol for the inaugural WPS season in 2009 where she was the team captain … Started 18 of 19 matches she played for the Sol, scoring three goals with three assists … Named to the WPS First Team and played in the WPS All-Star Game … Her tremendous play in midfield all season long helped the Sol to a first-place finish during the regular season with a 12-3-5 record and a berth in the WPS Championship Game… 2003:Had her best WUSA season with the New York Power, starting all 21 games and scoring one goal… Named to the All-WUSA First-Team … Named to the WUSA All-Star Team …2002: Played in 20 games, starting 15 for the San Diego Spirit … Recorded two goals and two assists … Traded to the New York Power on Sept. 30 … 2001: Was drafted in the third round, 19th overall in the 2001 inaugural draft by the San Diego Spirit … The iron-woman of the Spirit, Boxx started all 21 matches and missed only 20 minutes of action all season long … Led the team in fouls committed (48) and fouls suffered (42) … Scored three goals and added five assists for 11 points … Captained the Spirit in the one match Julie Foudy missed due to National Team commitments. … Etc.: Played with women’s club Ajax of Los Angeles in 1994 when she was in high school and in 2000 and 2005 … Also played with the Boston Renegades in 1999 … Had a stint with Saarbrücken of the German Women’s Bundesliga in 1999-00 … Played youth club with the Torrance United Waves from 1988-94, helping the team to regional titles in 1993 and 1994, earning tournament MVP honors both years.