CHICAGO (Wednesday, May 19, 2004) – U.S. Women’s National Team stars Abby Wambach and Shannon Boxx will represent the USA on the FIFA Women’s World Stars Team that will take on Women’s World Cup champion Germany at the Stade de France in Paris on Thursday, May 20, 2004, as part of the Centennial Celebrations for FIFA, the world governing body of soccer.
Wambach and Boxx left Carson, Calif., where they were in Olympic Residency Camp on Monday to travel to France for the event. Swedish Women’s National team head coach Marika Domanski-Lyfors and France Women’s National Team head coach Elisabeth Loisel will coach the all-stars against Germany, which won its first Women’s World Cup by defeating Sweden, 2-1, in sudden death overtime last October at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
Wambach, 23, is in the midst of a stellar year for the USA, having already scored 11 goals, passing her total from 2003, including the first-ever hat trick for a U.S. player against Norway in the USA’s 4-1 victory in the 2004 Algarve Cup Final on March 20. The 5-foot-11 Wambach was the USA’s leading scorer at the 2003 Women’s World Cup with three goals, including a historic goal in a 1-0 victory over Norway in the quarterfinal, and has already scored 25 goals in her 36 career caps for the USA.
“Being selected to play in a game like this is humbling and I hope I can perform well and represent my country and my teammates,” said Wambach. “Being able to have this experience of playing with these great players instead of against them is going to be a lot of fun.”
Boxx, 26, is one of the greatest stories in U.S. history. She became the only player in U.S. history to make a Women’s World Cup Team before earning a cap, and proceeded to set a U.S. record by scoring in her first three games, including the opening game of the 2003 Women’s World Cup against Sweden. The 5-foot-8 Boxx has started 13 of the 13 U.S. games this year and has started her national team career at a stunning scoring pace, knocking in nine goals in her first 22 games, made even more impressive considering her role as a defensive midfielder.
“I’m really excited for the game and the experience,” said Boxx. “To be recognized as one of the best players in the world is a great honor and I am also looking forward to spending a week in Paris with my fiancé.”
The women’s match will take place before reigning World Cup champion Brazil takes on 1998 World Cup champion France in a rematch of the 1998 World Cup Final at the same stadium in which Les Bleus recorded their historic 3-0 victory.
Wambach and Boxx will be joined on the All-Star Team by goalkeepers Caroline Jonsson (Sweden) and Memunatu Sulemana (Ghana); defenders Corrine Diacre (France), Charmaine Hooper (Canada), Cheryl Salisbury (Australia), Wang Liping (China) and Marwa Ibrahim El Hawat (Egypt); midfielders Homare Sawa (Japan), Daniela (Brazil), Marta (Brazil), Malin Mostrom (Sweden), Stephanie Mugneret-Beghe (France) and Naima El Awardy (Algeria), and forwards Mercy Akide (Nigeria), Victoria Svennson (Sweden) and Marinette Pichon (France). Hooper, Sawa, Akide and Diacre all played in the FIFA Women’s World-Stars in 1999 when they faced the USA in a match that preceded the 1999 Women’s World Cup Final Draw in San Jose, Calif.