IM this article to a friend!

May 5, 2007

Geneva teen receives honor from Foudy

From: Kane County Chronicle- Geneva,IL,USA - May 5, 2007


GENEVA – Jessica Coxe was offered chocolate by a soccer legend but respectfully declined, saying she did not want to become “hyper.”

Probably a good idea – the 14-year-old from Geneva had enough to be excited about.

On Friday, Coxe was honored by Julie Foudy, one of the biggest names in U.S. women’s soccer, in an evening ceremony at the Fox Valley Strikers’ training facility.

Coxe landed a scholarship to Foudy’s Sports Leadership Academy, to take place July 15-20 at McDonald’s corporate headquarters in Oak Brook.

Coxe won the honor based largely on an essay she wrote about leadership, coupled with her academic and athletic triumphs while battling a hearing impairment.

With Coxe at her side, Foudy spoke to about 50 members of the Fox Valley Strikers club program about lessons she learned as a 13-year captain of the U.S. national team, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and two-time World Cup champion.

At one point, Foudy asked Coxe what position she plays.

“Center mid,” Coxe said proudly, knowing it was the same position Foudy played.

“Yes!” Foudy exclaimed, slapping the beaming Coxe five.

A straight-A student, Coxe is captain of her Strikers club team.

She has not let hearing trouble – despite her generally effective cochlear implants, she occasionally has trouble hearing coaches and teammates – sap her zest to be a leader.

That’s why the Geneva Middle School South seventh grader is so enthused about the academy, which features soccer tutelage, team-building exercises and encourages kids to perform community service when they return home.

“I really want to improve and make my leadership more helpful to the team,” Coxe said.

That commitment to teamwork won over Foudy, who said she has heard Coxe is “just this phenomenal kid who has never let her hearing impairment affect her.”

Foudy, who was presented a box of chocolates from Graham’s of Geneva as a welcome gift, considers mentoring kids like Coxe an extension of her career.

“Every athlete wants to leave a legacy, not just on the field but off,” Foudy said.

Foudy offered soccer advice to the kids, but also connected with some of the younger girls by showing her silly side – like when she was asked about her favorite movie.

“I like really deep, serious movies, like Austin Powers and Tommy Boy,” Foudy said, drawing giggles.

Foudy, who became an ESPN soccer analyst after her playing career, planned to stay with friends in Geneva while in the area. Her academy is in its second year, and first year in the Chicago area.

©2007 Kane County Chronicle.