Heinrichs was looking for a physically dominant, versatile and consistent midfielder to team with veterans Julie Foudy and Kristine Lilly, and Boxx filled the bill. Before long she had established herself not only one of the best defensive midfielders in women’s soccer, but also as a goal scorer as dangerous from both the ground and the air.
The WNT’s Cinderella superstar scored three goals in her first three games after becoming the first uncapped player ever named to a Women’s World Cup team. Her performance in that World Cup, including goals against Sweden and Canada, earned her All-Tournament Team honors and a berth as captain of the FIFA World Stars team that played Germany as part of FIFA’s centennial celebrations in Paris. In 2004 she scored eight goals and set up five more in 32 national team matches, and brought home a Gold Medal from the Athens Olympic Games.
Sports have always been a big part of Shannon’s life. She played not only soccer but also softball, basketball and volleyball before starting college. She won two regional championships in seven years with the Torrance United Waves, and was named MVP of both tournaments. She was a freshman when Notre Dame won its first NCAA women’s soccer championship, in 1995. She shares the school record for career games played, with 101, and was an All-Big East selection in 1995, ’96 and ’97, and graduated with a degree in psychology and African-American studies.
After college, Shannon continued her soccer career with the W-League’s Boston Renegades (1999) and Saarbrucken of the women’s Bundesliga in Germany (1999-2000).
The launch of the WUSA in 2001 gave Shannon the opportunity to hone her soccer skills at home, against the best players in the world. She was drafted by the San Diego Spirit, where she teamed with future WNT linemate Julie Foudy. She missed only 20 minutes of action during her entire first season, and finished with three goals and five assists. Year two was a disappointment, however. She started only 15 games, scoring twice. At season’s end, she was part of the largest trade in WUSA history, going to New York as part of a package that gave the Spirit the number one draft pick, for newly-graduated Aly Wagner.
While the Spirit had used Shannon primarily on defense, Power coach Tom Sermanni placed her in a much more offensive role, and she thrived. She started all 21 of the team’s games, scoring a goal and recording a career-high eight assists. She was named to the All-WUSA First Team. She also was an all-star reserve, and was named team MVP.
Shannon still lives in southern California. She is the second Olympic Gold Medalist in the Boxx family – sister Gillian took Gold with the United States softball team during the 1996 Atlanta Games. She likes banana pancakes for breakfast on game days, but her all-time favorite meal is still mom Julie’s chili. Her favorite soccer player is former Power teammate Tiffeny Milbrett, and her favorite non-soccer athlete is Michael Jordan.
|2001 San Diego Spirit||21/21||1870||3||5||11||7-7-7|
|2002 San Diego Spirit||20/15||1349||2||2||6||5-11-5|
|2003 New York Power||21/21||1868||1||8||10||7-9-5|
|1995 Notre Dame||25/21||7||10||24||21-2-2|
|1996 Notre Dame||26/25||12||16||40||24-2-0|
|1997 Notre Dame||25/25||13||17||43||23-1-1|
|1998 Notre Dame||25/25||7||14||28||21-3-1|