An interview with Notre Dame’s Shannon Boxx

Shannon Boxx training at the 2012 London Olympics. (Scott Heppell/AP)

Shannon Boxx training at the 2012 London Olympics. (Scott Heppell/AP)

After 12 years, three Olympic gold medals and, now, a World Cup title, Shannon Boxx‘s illustrious career has come to an end.

The 38-year-old midfielder announced her retirement after the United States’ triumph in Canada.

Shannon Boxx at Notre Dame, where she played from 1995 to 1998, helping the Irish win their first national title as a freshman. (The Observer)

Shannon Boxx at Notre Dame, where she played from 1995 to 1998, helping the Irish win their first national title as a freshman. (The Observer)

That illustrious career had its beginnings at the University of Notre Dame, where, as a freshman in 1995, she helped propel the Irish to their first national championship. She graduated in 1999 with degrees in psychology and African-American studies.

Boxx still ranks sixth in school history in assists, with 57. and in games played, with 101. She is one of 13 Notre Dame women to have played in every match of her collegiate career.

She spoke with Renee Griffin of The Observer, the student newspaper at Notre Dame, reflecting on her time at the university,  her long tenure with the U.S. team, and her plans for the future.  (For starters, she says, “I’m going to be at home and not be in hotel rooms all the time,.”)

Boxx is one of the toughest, smartest, most skillful defensive mids ever to play the game. She made an improbable return to the national team in early 2015 after a hiatus of nearly two years, the result of injuries and, in February 2014, the birth of her daughter Zoe.

Shannon Boxx after the United States beat Brazil to win the gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. (Petr David Josek/AP)

Shannon Boxx after the United States beat Brazil to win the gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. (Petr David Josek/AP)

“I thought I was done in ’08, but I was just enjoying myself so much,” she says. “Then I thought I was done in 2012, but I still felt something was missing. I think it was that World Cup title.”

Since her comeback,  her impact on the pitch has been limited. She’s logged 134 minutes in seven games, starting once. She has one assist and no goals.

At the World Cup, she saw action only once, coming off the bench in the 74th minute of Team USA’s 1-0 group win over Nigeria.

But she tells Griffin she’s tried to contribute in other ways, serving as an elder adviser to some of the team’s young stars, in particular Julie Johnston and Christen Press, her teammates on the Chicago Red Stars.

“It’s nice to be that experienced veteran player,” she says. “You want to leave a legacy. You want to help the next generation be better than you.”

 

 

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