March 27, 2009

Lopez-Cox Likes Leadership Role with Sol

By John Philip Wyllie

With no games scheduled for the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team until May 20 defender Stephanie (Lopez) Cox is focusing her energy on getting her new team organized and off the ground. Cox will be teaming with the planet’s best female footballer (Marta) and former San Diego Spirit stars Aly Wagner and Shannon Boxx on the Los Angeles Sol of the Women’s Professional Soccer League. Naturally, she is excited about her latest endeavor.

Stephanie Lopez Cox interviewed following Sol scrimmage.

“Things are looking really good. We have some strong international players that are exciting to play with and to watch. And getting all of our national team players back has solidified our backline. We also have a great offense, so I think we are going to have a well-balanced team. I think we played hard tonight as a team defensively, but I think if we could play out of the back a little more and possess the ball (we could be better). We were aggressive, but we need to balance that with more possession.”

Naturally, there are a number of kinks to work out with this being the team’s first official scrimmage, but the raw materials appear in place, now it is just a matter of time before the Sol starts operating like a well-oiled machine. Getting them to that point is both challenging and fun for Cox.

“We are all a little bit anxious wanting this to happen right now, but patience is the key, that, and trusting that we have the right people in the right places. Hopefully, by our first game (March 29), we will be looking a lot sharper.”

Hundreds of fans turned out to catch a first glimpse of their team in action on March 14 and they were not disappointed with the Sol’s impressive 2-0 scrimmage victory over the visiting (Bay Area) FC Pride. The teams met a second time on March 17 behind closed doors, but the result was the same: Sol 2 Pride 0.

While Cox is not one of the Sol’s oldest players she is one of the team’s most experienced. She hopes to bring some of her national team savvy to the Sol.

“The national team exhibits so much intensity every time we play, so that should be one of our keys. (By being a part of that team) I have learned the amount of focus necessary and the amount of communication required to be successful at this level. This team has a ways to go with that and our tactical awareness.”

Cox enjoys her leadership role with the Sol.

“I am kind of in the middle age-wise, but having a lot of experience it has been fun to take that position of leadership and just go with it. I have enjoyed teaching some of the other players using my experience.”

The Los Angeles Sol open their 10-game home season on Sunday March 29 at 3:00 p.m.against Abby Wambach and the Washington Freedom at the Home Depot Center in Carson, CA.

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