June 23, 2011
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -
The reigning NCAA national champion Notre Dame women's soccer team will have a significant presence at the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup, which kicks off this weekend and continues through July 17 in nine cities around Germany. Five former Fighting Irish players -- four of whom earned All-America honors during their four-year careers under the Golden Dome -- will have a role in the quadrennial international tournament, with three competing in the event itself, and two others making their debuts as part of ESPN's extensive coverage of the tournament.
Ironically, the one Notre Dame women's soccer alum who wasn't an All-American with the Fighting Irish has become a mainstay for the United States Women's National Team, as midfielder Shannon Boxx (`99) dons the Stars & Stripes in World Cup action for the third time, having helped Team USA to third-place finishes in 2003 and 2007. The Torrance, Calif., native -- who helped Notre Dame to three NCAA College Cup appearances from 1995-97, including the '95 national championship and a runner-up finish in '96 -- was named to the prestigious FIFA All-World Cup Team in 2003 and scored a goal in the Americans' 3-0 win over England in the 2007 quarterfinals. Boxx also also earned a pair of Olympic gold medals with the United States side in the 2004 Athens Games and the 2008 Beijing Games.
Boxx and the United States will begin play at the 16-team tournament at 12:15 p.m. (ET) Tuesday, June 28 with a Group C match against North Korea in Dresden, Germany. The Americans also will play Colombia (July 2, noon ET in Sinsheim) and Sweden (July 6, 2:45 p.m. ET in Wolfsburg) to complete the group stage. All three of Team USA's matches in group play will be televised live on ESPNHD, ESPN3.com and ESPN Mobile TV.
Should the United States reach the quarterfinals, its match would be played on July 10 (either 7 a.m. ET in Augsburg or 11:30 a.m. ET in Dresden). The semifinals will take place July 13 (noon ET in Moenchengladbach or 2:45 p.m. ET in Frankfurt), with the World Cup final slated for 2:45 p.m. (ET) on July 17 in Frankfurt. All knockout round matches (quarterfinals and beyond) will be televised on ESPNHD, ESPN3.com and ESPN Mobile TV.
Two other former Notre Dame players who were All-Americans and key contributors on the 2004 Fighting Irish national championship squad will be playing in this year's FIFA Women's World Cup, as defender Candace Chapman
('05) and forward Melissa Tancredi
('04) both make their second World Cup appearance for their native Canada. In 2007, Chapman and Tancredi (along with 2004 Soccer America National Player of the Year and 2006 Notre Dame graduate Katie Thorlakson
) nearly led the Maple Leafs to the quarterfinals, but a stoppage-time goal by Australia in the final group-stage match gave the Matildas a 2-2 draw and knocked Canada out of the tournament. Chapman scored Canada's first goal of the tournament (in a 2-1 loss to Norway), while Tancredi found the back of the net 37 seconds into the Australia contest, making it (at the time) the second-fastest goal in Women's World Cup history.
Team Canada opens its World Cup schedule at noon (ET) Sunday when it takes on the host Germans at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin. Canada also will face France (June 30, noon ET in Bochum) and Nigeria (July 5, 2:45 p.m. ET in Dresden) during Group A action. The first two Canadian matches will be televised live on ESPNHD, while the contest with Nigeria can be seen on ESPN2HD, with all three matches also available on ESPN3.com and ESPN Mobile TV. The Canadians' quarterfinal match would take place on July 9 at either noon ET (in Leverkusen) or 2:45 p.m. ET (in Wolfsburg).
Speaking of the ESPN family of networks, two former Fighting Irish All-Americans will take their talents in front of the camera as they begin their World Cup broadcasting careers this weekend. Kate (Sobrero) Markgraf ('98) -- a member of the 1999 USA Women's World Cup championship team and a three-time All-America defender at Notre Dame and one of the mainstays on those three College Cup squads from 1995-97, as well as the '95 title-winning team -- will serve as a color analyst alongside veteran soccer play-by-play broadcaster Adrian Healy, while Monica Gonzalez ('01) -- who was a founding member of the Mexican National Team and helped it reach the 2004 Olympic quarterfinals, in addition to leading Notre Dame to three College Cup berths in 1997, 1999 and 2000 (including the '00 title match) -- will contribute analysis as a studio commentator for both ESPN and ESPN Deportes.
For more information on the Notre Dame women's soccer program, join the Fighting Irish women's soccer news Twitter page (@NDsoccernews) or sign up for the Irish ALERT text-messaging system through the sidebar on the women's soccer page at UND.com.
-- ND --