Shannon Books has embraced the impact she can have on a younger generation even as she is redefining the role of defensive midfielder for the United States women’s national team.
Boxx played at a time when the national team was predominantly white. At the 2015 Women’s World Cup, she was among only three women of color to play in the United States.
She was aware of her presence in the field where a biracial woman was sending a message to girls like her.
“There were definitely times when I was on the national team and I looked around and said, ‘I’m the only person of color here now, at certain moments on the team,'” she said. , when we sign autographs, I’m looking for these kids of color because I want them to know that they can do it, and I might be the only one now but that won’t be the way it is in the future. ”
Boxx has played in 195 games for the United States, the most played by a black woman in the history of the national team. She will be consecrated next week at the National Football Hall of Fame in Frisco, Texas, joining a class featuring former men’s national team star Clint Dempsey.
Known as Boxxy, she retired at the age of 38, shortly after the US won the 2015 World Cup. She also won three Olympic gold medals with the national team.
She has brought creativity and technical prowess to her position. She didn’t make her national debut until she was 26, but she immediately made an impact and was named to the 2003 World Cup squad by then coach April Heinrichs. She became the first American woman to score in each of her first three matches with the team.
In the later years of her career, Boxx took two years off due to injuries and the birth of her daughter. She has also suffered from lupus and Sjögren’s syndrome, both of which are autoimmune diseases.
While her career with the national team has been resilient, she has also faced challenges in her career. After a short spell in Germany, Boxx was drafted by the San Diego Spirit of WUSA in 2001. She credits the professional league with raising the bar for her game.
She started her first season, but her playing time was cut off in the second.
“I don’t think until that point, I really failed. I was successful in high school, I was successful in college.” And it was the first time I felt like, ‘Wow, like, there’s a whole other level, if I really want to be successful, I’m going to have to do these things to get there. ”
Boxx went on to play in the Women’s Professional Football League, and finally in the Women’s National Football League.
After her retirement, Boxx settled with her family in Portland, Oregon, where she helped set up a girls’ soccer academy to introduce the game to underserved residents.
“Parents are very happy that we come into a community that wants to do this. They want to provide this for their children, but they don’t have a way to do that,” Boxes said. “I think it makes things more accessible. And realizing that money for playing is not the only way to get someone to play football.”
Boxx will be honored with former teammate Kristi Pierce Rampon, who was originally voted into the Hall of Fame last year but has postponed her attendance until this season in reaction to a series of scandals in the NWSL.
Former US goalkeeper Hope Solo was voted into the Hall of Fame this year, but released a statement saying she would delay her training by a year while participating in an inpatient treatment program after she was arrested on a DWI charge in late March.
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