Shannon Boxx is the newest member of FC Gold Pride. But if it were a right world, she wouldn't have wanted to be here. In fact, she wouldn't have wanted to be in St. Louis. Thus is the misfortune for Boxx.
In 2009, Boxx was a member of Women's Professional Soccer's top team, the Los Angeles Sol. After the Sol were upset in the WPS Championship by Sky Blue FC, undoubtedly, Boxx and her teammates were champing at the bit to get back to the championship game. It wasn't to be when L.A. folded its operations in January.
Boxx was the first player picked up in Los Angeles' dispersal draft in early February by the St. Louis Athletica, who traded up in the draft to get her. St Louis was the second best WPS team in the regular season in 2009, so for sure Boxx thought she would be contending for a championship in 2010.
And here we are in early June, and Boxx is doing just that -- just not with St. Louis.
St. Louis became the second WPS team to fold in five months and Boxx was a member on both teams. For Boxx, it's been frustrating.
"It's been one of those years. It's frustrating," said Boxx. "I found a home in L.A. with the team and I thought we did so well; we came so close to a championship that I definitely wanted to see what the next year was going to bring.
"To have that fold and go to St. Louis," Boxx continued. "I became excited once I got there and saw the organization I was very excited to be there and I thought we had a very good team there, a team that could go to the championship and it folded. So personally it's been very frustrating.
But she landed on the top WPS squad through seven games and hopes that she can be a contributing cause for the team that could ultimately go the whole way.
"I've had to move a couple times but as a professional athlete, you know that happens and I think I've just taken it as it is and moving on," said Boxx. "I'm very excited to be with this team, and my focus is to win a championship and help them get there."
Interview with FC Gold Pride midfielder Shannon Boxx
Boxx brings a leadership aspect to the Pride that they don't necessarily need with the likes of Rachel Buehler and Nicole Barnhart on the club, but you can't have too much leadership and experience. It's for that off-the-field intangible that coach Albertin Montoya is so excited about the acquisition.
"She comes in and fits right in," said Montoya. "She has a wealth of experience. She's such a great player; all the players respect her, and she's come in and looks like she's going to fit in right from the start."
With all that experience, Montoya's hoping he can get some quality minutes from her, with a set of veteran eyes on the deadly Abby Wambach.
"We just put her in there and she was already organizing and understands exactly what we want her to do," said Montoya. "It's good we can have her when we need someone to mark up Abby Wambach on set plays. Timing is almost perfect."
Unfortunately in order to get Boxx on the roster, two players had to suffer: Kaley Fountain and Ashley Bowyer. Fountain was waived by the club while Bowyer, a developmental player, was released outright. For Fountain, she remained on the team, but took a lesser role, moving on to be a developmental player. It's all about the numbers.
"Those players have been playing their hearts out since the very beginning," said Montoya. "Ashley is a midfielder and we're pretty deep there ... it became a numbers game and salary cap issue. We had to release one player and make a spot for Shannon Boxx."
No disrespect to Bowyer or Fountain but neither one of them is Shannon Boxx. Put them both together and they still may not be the caliber of player that Shannon Boxx is. And this isn't just a move to hold the team over until Abily comes back to the lineup in early July, it's a move to bolster an already potent lineup.
Boxx agreed to join the Pride because Montoya -- an offensive-minded coach -- told her he wants her to not only play her typical defensive midfield, but help out on offense when the Pride are controlling the possession. When she heard that, "I was sold," was her reaction.
A lineup with the likes of Marta, Abily and Boxx ... it seems like a winner. Oh, wait, it was a winner. They were key cogs with L.A. runner-up finish last season. Hopefully those three, with the help of O'Hara, Sinclair, Buehler, Barnhart and the like help that trio win in the championship in 2010.