May 7, 2009
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Two Notre Dame women’s soccer alumnae and current members of the Los Angeles Sol in Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) — Brittany Bock (’09) and Shannon Boxx (’99) — have been named to the 21-player U.S. National Team roster for a pair of international exhibitions (known as friendlies) against Japan later this month, it was announced Wednesday afternoon by head coach Pia Sundhage.
The Americans will take on the Japanese at 7:30 p.m. CT on May 20 in Frisco, Texas, at Pizza Hut Park, and again at 4 p.m. MT on May 23 in Sandy, Utah, at Rio Tinto Stadium. The second match will be televised live on Fox Soccer Channel and Fox Sports en Espanol, while the official U.S. Soccer web site (www.ussoccer.com) will offer live statistics from both contests through its MatchTracker feature.
Boxx has been a mainstay with the U.S. National Team program for the past six years, having earned 114 caps (appearances) as a holding midfielder and scoring 19 goals in her national team career. She is a two-time Olympic gold medalist (2004 and 2008), and also was a member of the American side that finished third at both the 2003 and 2007 Women’s World Cups (making the prestigious All-World Cup Team in ’03). She most recently donned the Stars & Stripes back in March at the Algarve Cup in Portugal, scoring the dramatic tying goal in the final against Sweden in second-half stoppage time before the Scandanavians prevailed on penalties following a 1-1 draw.
Boxx also is starting in the midfield with her new professional club in Los Angeles, helping the Sol to the top of the league table with 10 points (3-1-1 record) and tallying an assist in L.A.’s 2-0 win at Sky Blue FC (New Jersey) on April 5.
Meanwhile, Bock received her second call-up to the national team and will be seeking her first career cap. The two-time All-American completed an outstanding career at Notre Dame back in December, serving as a co-captain for the top-ranked Irish squad that went 26-1, won the BIG EAST Conference title and advanced to its seventh NCAA Women’s College Cup final (and third in the past five years). Bock ranks 12th in school history with 46 goals and 15th with 121 points, twice being named a Hermann Trophy semifinalist (2007 and 2008), and twice earning ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America honors (including first-team status in ’08).
In fact, Bock is one of just 12 student-athletes (and two women’s soccer players) in Notre Dame athletics history to couple All-America and Academic All-America status in the same season on two occasions, and that academic success helped the Naperville, Ill., native garner an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship, as well as the 2008-09 BIG EAST Scholar-Athlete Award.
After playing both forward and midfielder during her college career, Bock seamlessly has shifted to the back line in her professional career, evolving into one of the top young center backs in WPS. Like Boxx, she has started all five matches and played every minute for Los Angeles this season, potting her first pro goal last Saturday in the 63rd minute of a 2-1 loss at Boston. Bock and Boxx are two of the 10 Notre Dame alums on WPS rosters this season, not including Sky Blue FC assistant coach Kelly Lindsey (`01) and Chicago Red Stars/U.S. National Team defender Kate (Sobrero) Markgraf (`98), who is not playing this season while on maternity leave.
This month’s friendlies are the first of four matches this year for the United States, which is beginning its preparations for the 2011 Women’s World Cup in Germany. The Americans also will play Canada on July 19 (Rochester, N.Y.) and July 22 (Charleston, S.C.), with former Notre Dame All-Americans Melissa Tancredi (’04) — who is now with WPS’ Saint Louis Athletica — and Candace Chapman (’05) — a member of the WPS’ Boston Breakers — in the mix to suit up for Team Canada. In an interesting twist, all four U.S. friendlies this year will be contested in soccer-specific stadiums, and according to U.S. Soccer, it’s believed to be the first time either the United States men’s or women’s national teams have played their full domestic schedule for a single year in stadia designed with a soccer team as the primary tenant.
“Now is the time to start investing in 2011,” Sundhage said. “We are bringing in an interesting mix of some newer players and players with experience, as well as some college players. The WPS has given us the chance to look at some new players.”
Tickets for the May 20 match at Pizza Hut Park, home to FC Dallas of Major League Soccer, range in price from $18 to $80, plus special VIP On-Field seats for $125. Tickets are available through ussoccer.com, by phone at 1-800-745-3000, all Ticketmaster ticket centers throughout the Dallas Metroplex (including Fiesta, Macy’s and FYE stores), and the Pizza Hut Park ticket office (open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT).
Tickets for the May 23 match at Rio Tinto Stadium, home to Real Salt Lake of MLS, start at $18 and can be purchased through ussoccer.com, by phone at 801-727-2700 (Monday-Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. MT) and at the Rio Tinto Stadium ticket office (open Monday-Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. MT).
Groups of 20 or more can obtain an order form at ussoccer.com or call 312-528-1290. Ultimate Fan Tickets (special VIP packages which include a premium ticket, a custom-made official U.S. national team jersey with name and number, VIP access to the field before and after the game, and other unique benefits) are also available exclusively through ussoccer.com.
— ND —