Off-the-wall Questions and Answers, Queries and Anecdotes from U.S. Women’s National Team midfielder Shannon Boxx.
Boxx gave new meaning to the words "burst onto the international scene" last year, making the 2003 Women's World Cup Team without ever appearing for the USA at the senior level. She then scored in her first three matches, made the FIFA Women's World Cup All-Star Team and recently captained the FIFA World Stars to a 3-2 victory over Germany in Paris during FIFA's Centennial Celebrations. She took time out from her busy schedule to speak with ussoccer.com about her whirlwind 2003 and college life back at the Golden Dome.
Center Circle: Describe your Women's World Cup experience in three words.
Shannon Boxx: "Surprise. Emotional. Excitement.”
CC: What was it like playing for the FIFA World Stars in Paris just prior to the Brazil-France rematch from the 2002 World Cup?
SB: "It was a great honor to play with those players in such a big event. To be the captain of the team was a big surprise, and I have to admit it was fun to beat Germany. Just hanging out in the hotel with your teammates was a lot of fun too, even though everyone was speaking different languages. FIFA treated us great and I got to spend a few days in Paris with my fiance, so it was just a wonderful event overall."
CC: What do you think about comments from fellow teammates or those in the media who compare your toughness and ball-winning abilities to that of the legendary Michelle Akers?
SB: "I was shocked when I first heard that and very honored, but I don't see myself on the level of someone so great as Michelle Akers. But to have someone say that, especially from your teammates, is a great honor and I have to thank my teammates for making me look good."
CC: You scored goals in your first three international matches last year and even had a hat trick back in February, which is very rare for a defensive midfielder. Is that a byproduct of you being in the right place at the right time, or do you work hard to be a part of the attack when the opportunity presents itself?
SB: "Those are kind of two unusual happenings for sure, but one of my roles in the middle of the field is to get in to scoring positions on free kicks and corner kicks, so that helps me get some goals. I like to go forward, I like to shoot, and I like to get into the attack when I can, but I know my major role is to be defensive."
CC: Do you have a favorite of the nine goals you’ve scored in your brief National Team career?
SB: "It would have to be the volley I scored against Costa Rica in qualifying. It was off a throw-in from the right sideline and Shannon MacMillan flicked it on and I hit it first-time into the side-netting. I've never done that before."
CC: What has been the toughest part so far of Olympic Residency Camp in Carson?
SB: "Just staying mentally and physically focused. It's a long process and you know you can't have too many bad days, so everyday you have to come ready to play."
CC: Knowing your sister has a gold medal for Softball from '96, I'm sure there’s some extra motivation to bring home a medal from Athens in August. Aside from Germany, who do you think will be the team that could stop you from getting the gold?
SB: "Definitely Sweden, Brazil and China have a great chance to win the gold. And Japan played really well against us earlier this month (a 1-1 draw on June 6 in Louisville), so we know it's going to be a hard road no matter who we have to play."
CC: Who is the most difficult playmaker you've had to shut down, either on the international level or in the WUSA?
SB: "Homare Sawa from Japan and the Atlanta Beat is one of them. Maren Meinert from Germany is also one of the best players I've ever played against. Their movement off the ball is so good that they are hard to track and follow. They always seem to be in the right spot at the right time to receive the ball."
CC: Will the WUSA be back in '05, and if so, how long can it sustain itself in the sports hierarchy?
SB: "For the sake of the kids, and the future of the national team, I hope it comes back and stays. We had such a great product that it's just sad it's not around anymore. I owe the WUSA a lot of helping me get to the National Team, so I don't want other players to miss out on that chance."
CC: What's your biggest soccer goal looking ahead to the future, looking past the Olympics for a second?
SB: "To continue to play and contribute to the national team. I want to play until I can't play anymore. I want to win a World Cup and an Olympics and I want to be the one that says I'm done at the end of my career."
CC: What's your biggest goal in your personal life?
SB: "Just to be happy and have a family. I am getting married in April of '05, so I'm well on my way to those goals."
CC: You have a degree in Psychology and were accepted to the Master’s program at Pepperdine University before all of the Women’s World Cup festivities kinda changed your plans. What made you become interested in psychology?
SB: "I took a class in high school and loved it. The mom of a good friend of mine is a clinical psychologist and I spoke a lot with her and that got me interested in working with children in the psychology field."
CC: If soccer fans wanted to stalk you somewhere in your hometown of Redondo Beach, where would they find you?
SB: "I like The Village area a lot. It's the main little town in Redondo. It has shops and coffee places and restaurants. You can walk to the beach and stuff. I used to meet friends there a lot."
CC: Quite a change from a big city like South Bend, Ind. Just how boring was it?
SB: "South Bend itself is very boring, but as athletes, we lived on campus for three years, and it was a lot of fun. We went to all the athletic events and the town itself revolves around the campus, so it was fun to be at center of that. Pretty much, we found things to do on campus and I had (former Notre Dame and U.S. National Teammates) LaKeysia Beene and Kelly Lindsey to have fun with."
CC: What was the best way to pass the time? Study?
SB: "I did lots of things. I would go play out in the snow, play football, or hang out in the dining hall and talk to people all day long. It really wasn't that bad at all. I could have had fun at UCLA or something, but it never bothered me at all. The school and people were so fun."
CC: With the hotel, the golf course and the grotto, is there anything the Notre Dame campus does NOT have?
SB: "It had a movie theatre too. But what Notre Dame really needed was a Starbucks."
CC: How soon do you think it will be before the Irish football team is back competing for a national championship?
SB: "Good question. We'll leave it at that."
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