U.S. defender Stephanie Cox
Stephanie Cox and Jill Loyden, both members of the USA’s 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup Team that fell to Japan in a penalty kick shootout in the World Cup Final, are en route to quake-stricken Sendai, Japan to help celebrate National Sports Day on Monday, Oct. 10, 2011.
The trip is being made possible by the Japanese Olympic Committee, in cooperation with the U.S. Olympic Committee and the International Olympic Committee. Cox and Loyden will join forces with Japanese players and other international athletes to inspire children and showcase the power of sport.
"The recovery effort currently underway in Sendai and the rest of Japan is absolutely incredible," said Cox. "I'm grateful for the opportunity to witness the rebuilding first-hand, and hopefully we can offer local children a small diversion from the everyday effort and a chance to be kids and play sports."
Loyden and Cox will land in Tokyo and then travel to Sendai to meet with local children and community leaders.
"Our connection with the Japanese team is very strong following the World Cup - and as difficult as it was to place second, friendship and respect certainly transcended sport on that day," said Loyden. "When you think of the reconstruction that's taking place in Sendai, soccer isn't really the first remedy you imagine but sport has made a huge difference in my life and if we can offer the area kids even a moment's escape from the difficult tasks of everyday life, then we've succeeded in my eyes."
USOC Chairman Larry Probst and CEO Scott Blackmun traveled to Japan in the immediate aftermath of the deadly natural disaster that struck Sendai. Probst suggested that perhaps U.S. athletes could participate in the rebuilding effort and Japanese officials worked with USOC staff to make the effort a success.
U.S. GK Jill Loyden