June 2, 2015
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — While the summer months serve as the one true offseason for collegiate soccer, numerous players with ties to the University of Notre Dame women’s soccer program continue to showcase their talents around the world year-round. With the opening matches of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup quickly approaching on June 6 in Canada, here is a look at Fighting Irish stars past, present and future on the international stage.
Boxx, Tancredi Return To The World Cup
For the sixth straight FIFA Women’s World Cup cycle dating back to 1995, when Holly Manthei (’97) made her debut in the international showcase for the United States, two players will represent Notre Dame during the June 6-July 5 tournament in Canada. U.S. Women’s National Team legend Shannon Boxx (’99) and longtime Team Canada standout Melissa Tancredi (’04) will each suit up for their respective countries in the race for World Cup glory.
Boxx will make her fourth career appearance for the United States in World Cup play after previously competing in 2003 (bronze), 2007 (bronze) and 2011 (silver). Boxx was named to the FIFA All-World Cup Team in 2003 during a breakout performance for the American side, and has scored 27 international goals in her career. She has also earned three Olympic gold medals with the United States, placing first at the 2004 Athens Games, the 2008 Beijing Games and the 2012 London Games.
In four appearances for the U.S. WNT thus far in 2015, Boxx has logged a total of 46 minutes of playing time to push her career caps with the national side to 190 since 2003. She most recently saw 12 minutes of action after subbing in for Carli Lloyd in the 78th minute of a 3-0 U.S. win over Ireland during a friendly on May 10, before a sellout crowd of 18,000 fans at Avaya Stadium in San Jose, California.
Originally from Torrance, California, Boxx made three NCAA College Cup appearances with Notre Dame from 1995-97, including winning the 1995 national championship and securing a runner-up finish in 1996. She helped lead the Fighting Irish to an 89-8-4 record during her four-year career, and remains ranked among the top-15 players in program history in four career statistical categories; consecutive games played (101 — tied/fourth), total games played (101 — tied/sixth), assists (57 — sixth) and points (135 — 13th).
Boxx is one of 12 players in Notre Dame program history with at least 30 career goals (39) and 30 career assists (59), and is one of 14 different Fighting Irish players to not miss a single game during their Notre Dame careers. She was also selected to the Soccer America all-Freshman Team in 1995, earning all-BIG EAST Conference honors in 1995, 1996 and 1997.
The U.S. WNT is scheduled to begin group play on June 8 against Australia in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The full Team USA schedule for Group D is as follows.
Tancredi returns to the FIFA Women’s World Cup after appearing in three group-stage matches for Canada in 2011, scoring two goals for her home side. During her inaugural World Cup appearance in 2007, Tancredi scored the second-fastest goal in the competition’s history, netting a goal a mere 37 seconds into the final group stage match against Australia.
A veteran of 100 international matches for Team Canada, Tancredi is also a past Olympic medalist after appearing in both the Beijing (2008) and London (2012) Games, aiding the Canadian side to a bronze medal finish in 2012.
Tancredi has appeared in eight matches for Canada thus far in 2015, logging six starts and over 400 minutes of cumulative match time. Team Canada has outscored opponents by an aggregate margin of 11-5 in international play this season, most recently defeating England 1-0 in a May 29 friendly at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton, Ontario.
A native of Ancaster, Ontario, Tancredi was named to the 2003 and 2004 NSCAA All-America second teams, and was one of the key members of the 2004 Notre Dame NCAA national championship roster. She was a two-time BIG EAST Conference Defensive Player of the Year (2003-04) selection, and finished her collegiate career with 14 goals and 11 assists in 82 matches played (73 starts) at both forward and defender for the Fighting Irish.
Canada is set to open the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup on June 6 against China in Edmonton, Alberta. Other foes joining Canada and China in Group A are New Zealand and the Netherlands. The full Group A schedule for Team Canada is as follows.
A third Fighting Irish great will be breaking down the action from the studio throughout the Women’s World Cup, as Notre Dame Monogram Club Board member Kate (Sobrero) Markgraf(’98) will serve as an ESPN studio analyst during the tournament. Markgraf, a three-time All-American and standout on the 1995 Fighting Irish NCAA Championship team during her Notre Dame career, enjoyed a 15-plus year international career with the U.S. WNT and appeared in three World Cups, including the memorable championship triumph for Team USA in 1999.
New Level, No Problem For Roccaro
When Notre Dame senior tri-captain Cari Roccaro made her first appearance at United States Under-23 Women’s National Team camp last month in Lakewood Ranch, Florida, it was merely the latest step up the international ladder for the dynamic Fighting Irish midfielder. Serving as captain of the U.S. U-20 WNT for the past two seasons, including a triumph at the 2012 U-20 Women’s World Cup in Japan, Roccaro had already proved her mettle at the national level and the next challenge was in sight.
The first test for Roccaro emerging from the Florida selection camp was an appearance in a U-23 Four Nations Tournament that was held May 27-31 in Norway. In the first U.S. match of the event on May 27 against Sweden, Roccaro gathered a loose ball more than 35 yards away from goal and deposited a try that found the left corner of the net, giving the East Islip, New York native her first career U-23 goal in a 2-1 U.S. victory.
Video of the goal begins below at the 2:10 mark.
For Notre Dame fans who feel like they had seen something similar before, well, they have (0:25 mark).
The American side would add a 2-2 draw with host Norway (May 29) before taking a 2-1 decision over England (May 31) to win the Four Nations Tournament.
U.S. team captain Roccaro played all 270 minutes at defender for the U.S. U-23 WNT during the event, one of four players to not be subbed for during the competition, and logged two points thanks to her eventual match-winning goal against Sweden. Classmate and fellow Fighting Irish tri-captain Katie Naughton did not compete in the tournament due to a prior commitment with a Notre Dame service abroad opportunity that is ongoing in South Africa.
Irish Well Represented At U-20 Women’s NTC Invitational In Carson City
Three Notre Dame players will represent the Fighting Irish during the upcoming 2015 U.S. U-20 Women’s NTC Invitational, which begins at 3 p.m. (PT) on June 2 at Glenn “Mooch” Myernick Field in Carson City, California. Notre Dame sophomores Sabrina Flores (United States) and Monica Flores (Mexico), and incoming freshman Natalie Jacobs (United States) are set to take part in the six-match showcase that runs through June 6 at the U.S. Soccer National Training Center. Tournament matches will be streamed live at ussoccer.com.
Here is the match schedule for the contests involving Notre Dame players.
U.S. U-20 NTC Invitational — Carson City, Calif.
June 2 — Mexico vs. Brazil, 3 p.m. (PT)
June 2 — U.S. vs. Japan, 6 p.m. (PT)
June 4 — U.S. vs. Mexico, 6 p.m. (PT)
June 6 — Japan vs. Mexico, noon (PT)
June 6 — U.S. vs. Brazil. 3 p.m. (PT)
Sabrina Flores and Jacobs are each in their second tour of duty with the U.S. U-20 WNT in 2015 after previously competing at the La Manga Tournament in Spain in March. Flores has made three match appearances as a defender for Team USA, earning two starts and logging 157 total minutes of match time. Jacobs started each of the three contests in La Manga, going the distance on the back line for a team-high 270 minutes. The United States completed a perfect 3-0 table with three consecutive 2-0 victories over Norway (March 5), the Netherlands (March 7) and Sweden (March 9) to win the event.
Monica Flores will look to make her first international match appearance for the Mexico U-20s after taking part in a May selection camp to determine the squad roster for the U.S. U-20 NTC Invitational. Along with her twin sister Sabrina, Flores has been involved at various levels of the U.S. Soccer developmental program since 2011, participating in U-14, U-15 and U-18 national team selection camps and pools before earning the nod with Mexico for the NTC Invitational.
For more information on the Fighting Irish women’s soccer program, follow Notre Dame on Twitter (@NDsoccernews or @NDSoccer), like the Fighting Irish on Facebook (facebook.com/NDWomenSoccer) or sign up for the Irish ALERT text-messaging system through the “Fan Center” pulldown menu on the main page at UND.com.
— Tony Jones, Media Relations Assistant