Shannon Boxx might hesitate to fully unpack when she moves into her new place in Florida. The U.S. Women’s National Team midfielder has watched three of her WPS teams fold in the past 14 months. In 2011, Boxx will play for her fourth club, magicJack’s Washington Freedom (based in Boca Raton, Fla.).
After a stellar 2009 campaign in which the Los Angeles Sol lost to Sky Blue FC in the final, the Sol folded up shop in January 2010. Boxx was instrumental to LA’s 2009 success, quietly controlling the middle of the field for the 2009 regular season champions. Saint Louis Athletica picked Boxx first-overall in the dispersal draft, but Athletica ceased operations in May. Boxx made her way to FC Gold Pride almost immediately, helping lead the team to a 2010 title. Less than two months after the win, FC Gold Pride owners Nancy and Brian NeSmith pulled the plug on the team.
“It is what it is,” Boxx said, acknowledging the business of sports.
It must feel like a sick joke to Boxx. Every time she begins to settle into a team – or, most recently, win a title – the reality of business hits. Boxx said she just takes it in stride.
“I completely understand that it is a new league,” she said. “Obviously I have been bummed out each time that I have had to switch teams because I feel like I have connected with each team I have been with and I feel like it would be kind of fun to go back and not have to try to fit in with another team.”
Boxx, who also played in the now defunct WUSA for the San Diego Spirit and New York Power, will have the opportunity to play alongside U.S. teammates Christie Rampone, Lindsay Tarpley, Abby Wambach and Hope Solo with the Freedom. That, along with the opportunity to play on grass instead of turf, was the main reason Boxx chose the Freedom.
Now Boxx, along with the rest of the Freedom, have to hope new owner Dan Borislow sticks around for an extended period of time.
“Well I haven’t had much luck with my teams these past couple of years, but to be honest I have enjoyed every team I play for,” Boxx said. “When I pick my teams I try to pick a team where I feel like I am going to fit in and also help win a championship. Talking to the owner, who seems so invested – he plays soccer, himself, has a daughter that likes soccer – already right there that is a great start. And it is good to see some of the players who are playing there.”
It should be noted that Lindsay Tarpley, who is now healthy, is also on her fourth WPS team but only. Two of those – Athletica and the Chicago Red Stars – are no longer in operation.
But in this Women’s World Cup year, the Freedom has the makings of a championship team. More important to the players might be an assurance that the Freedom has a future as a club as well.
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