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Boxx Talks WPS And The National Team

For the past two months, friends turned to foes. Now, foes have once again become friends.

Ok, they were always friends, but during the first quarter of the inaugural season of Women’s Professional Soccer, the players of the U.S. Women’s National Team have been battling, tackling, and competing with fervor for their clubs.

Now, they will once again pull on the same jersey, this one being red, white and blue. sat down with U.S. and Los Angeles Sol midfielder Shannon Boxx, who has played 114 times for her country, to get her thoughts on the national team coming together for the first time during the WPS season.

On being in a national team camp again:
“To be honest, I’m very excited to be back. This is kind of my family as well and we’ve always been together it seems. We have all gone and tried to perform well in the WPS, which is a great challenge, but my first thoughts are that I am exited to see my teammates, to listen to my teammates talk about the good and the bad, the happiness and frustration of the club season and see that we are in some similar situations and some very different ones. And of course, playing for Pia is always amazing.”

On the necessary adjustment of roles with club and country:
“Every single person has had to play a different role in the WPS, even if it’s just being more of a leader with their club, while with the national team they didn’t need to be. It’s very important for all of the national team players to play leadership roles with their clubs and on the whole, when we come back together, that’s going to make the national team better as well. Rachel Buehler is a great example. Here is pretty quiet person, but with the Gold Pride she has to speak up. She’s their leader in the center of the defense in the back and that experience is just going to help her when she’s on the national team, showing her that she can be that type of player here as well.”

On her role with the USA and the Sol:
“When I’m with the WPS, I have a different role than when I’m with the national team, but it’s nice to have a compliment of both. I always felt like I’m a leader on the national team, but I do play a different leadership role with the Sol. I am always communicating with the coaches, communicating with players all over the field and playing a more defensive role. I’m happy to be back in a sort of different role in the midfield (with the USA) where I have a bit more attacking freedom, but it’s nice to see that I can do both and enjoy both.”

On playing against her national team teammates in the league:
“It is fun to play against our national team teammates. That was something we were always looking forward to when the WPS was coming together. The games in the WPS have been very, very good and very tough. It’s a great sign for league and for national team. I went up against Natasha Kai, Heather O’Reilly and Christie Rampone last weekend and while you know how they play, in the WPS environment, you appreciate even more how good they are.”

On how the WPS will benefit the national team in the long run:
“We train day in and day out. With the national team, we trained a lot, but during breaks, I worked on my fitness more than anything else. It’s hard to find situations to work with the ball. In the WPS, you are working with the ball all the time. Pia wants us to get better as an offensive team, and the more you touch the ball the better you can be. You can even do extra with your WPS teammates. The way the games have been, Pia is going to have an opportunity to find more players, and that makes it more challenging for every single one of us.”