Interview with Shannon Boxx of the US Women's Soccer Team

Shannon Boxx already holds one Olympic gold medal, and she'll be gunning for her second in Beijing this summer.  Shannon's a veteran member of the US Women's Soccer Team who plays with a lot of grit.  I caught up with Shannon after the Queen Peace Cup and asked a few questions about her training and prep for the 2008 Olympics.

Here's what she had to say:

Zimbio: You've made an inspirational comeback from your knee injury in 2006. How'd you do it?

Shannon: It took a lot of hard work to comeback from an injury like that.  I made sure that I had a really positive attitude even though there were times when I wanted to give up.  I made sure I had a great physical therapist who helped keep me motivated as well as put me through intense workouts.  I went to PT three to fours times a week for two to three hours. And the days I wasn't at PT, I was riding the bike or running, once I was allowed to do that.

Zimbio: Tell us about your training philosophy.  How do you keep up your intensity?

Shannon: It’s really easy to keep up your training intensity when you know there's always someone trying to take your position.  That is what is so great about playing on the U.S. National Team. You always have to be at the top of your game and you’re always improving because of the people around you.  I train the way I do everyday because in the end I love what I do. When I’m having a rough day, I remind myself how great my job is.

You've played in both offensive and defensive roles. Which do you prefer?

Shannon: That’s a great question.  I know so many people would probably say offense, but naturally I feel I am a defensive player and I love having that role.  Defense is about commitment and discipline and a decision to be tough.  The best feeling is going into a tough tackle and your team coming up with the ball.

Zimbio: You've played in a lot of stadiums around the world.  What's your favorite?

Shannon: That’s a tough question because I feel like if I was to pick just a stadium that had a great atmosphere I would have to say University of San Diego, where I played in the WUSA, because the fans seem like they are right on top of you.  But if I was to say where I felt most at home, I would have to say the Home Depot Center in Carson, California.  It’s the closet stadium to my home.  I always have a ton of family and friends in the stands for my game and I have scored in every game I have ever played there (I hope I didn’t just jinx that!)

Zimbio: Do you have any pre-game rituals or superstitions? How do you get ready for big match ups?

Shannon: I don't have any real superstitions, but I do have a couple pre-game rituals.  I like to eat banana pancakes for breakfast the day of a game and I always French-braid my hair.  For any game I try not to make myself to nervous to early.  I think having nerves at the beginning of a game isn't a bad thing but to have them to early before the game stresses me out.  So I usually try to calm myself by eating breakfast by myself or with family and friends.

Zimbio: When you're competing in an Olympic game, what goes through your head? What do you think about or tell yourself?

Shannon: It’s hard to tell yourself that this is just another game when you’re playing in the Olympics, but that is what I try to do to help me stay calm and play the way I always do.  You can't prepare completely for the emotions you’re going to face playing for your country in such an event, but I try to realize how lucky I am and try to make sure I enjoy it along the way.

You've already chalked up one Olympic gold medal, but so did your sister.  Do you need to win again this summer in order to claim  family bragging rights?

Of course! My sister and I have such a great relationship but we are also both very competitive, especially when it comes to our mother. We have always joked that we will be the number one daughter if we accomplish more than the other one.  This is my chance to take the lead.

Zimbio: We'll be cheering for you.  Best of luck, and thanks for chatting today.

Shannon+Boxx in Brazil v USA: FIFA Women's World Cup 2011 - Quarter Finals
Marta (R) of Brazil and Shannon Boxx (L) of USA battle for the ball during the FIFA Women's World Cup 2011 Quarter Final match between Brazil and USA at Rudolf-Harbig-Stadion on July 10, 2011 in Dresden, Germany. (Getty Images)more pics »
Shannon+Boxx in Sweden v USA: Group C - FIFA Women's World Cup 2011
Josefine Qvist (R) of Sweden and Shannon Boxx (L) of USA battle for the ball during the FIFA Women's World Cup 2011 Group C match between Sweden and USA at Wolfsburg Arena on July 6, 2011 in Wolfsburg, Germany. (Getty Images)more pics »

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