Reign FC has signed defender Stephanie Cox as a National Team Replacement Player. Per league and club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Cox, 33, made 49 appearances for Reign FC between 2013 and 2015. She was a member of the inaugural 2013 side and was a key part of the defense that helped the club repeat as NWSL Shield winners in 2014 and 2015.
Cox was already part of the club personnel, acting as an assistant coach to head coach Vlatko Andonovski. Cox also served as an assistant coach during Reign FC’s 2017 season.
“It’s something that we didn’t even think about,” Andonovski said. “When she first told me that (she wanted to play), I was in shock. I didn’t know what to say or ask, but after processing everything I’m just excited and happy that we can have a player of her caliber on our team.”
Cox, 33, has 89 caps for the U.S. Women’s National Team, dating back to her debut in 2006. She helped the U.S. win Olympic Gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. She also appeared for the U.S. at the 2007 and 2011 Women’s World Cups.
The defender said being back around the professional game made her realize how much she missed playing.
“All season, coming out to practice, there was something inside of me that still loves striking a ball,” Cox said. “I talked to my husband about it. He was supportive. I started thinking ‘I’m already here, why not give it a shot?”
For Andonovski, he can now rely on Cox’s veteran leadership and the play of an Olympic gold medalist.
“We’re so thankful to have Steph on our staff,” Andonovski said. “She was very helpful in everything that she was doing. For her to play, it was entirely her decision. We didn’t force her into it; she really wants to do it and help the team. It makes us all excited because she’s an incredible soccer player. Her quality will be very welcome on our team.”
Cox polled more than just her husband in making her decision to return, however.
“My oldest daughter understands because she remembers me playing, but I was pregnant with my youngest the last time I played,” Cox said. “I asked them both, ‘should mommy play or should mommy coach? My oldest said play but my younger daughter said coach, coach.’ It will be great for them to see me follow my heart and work hard!”
Cox will be available for selection for Reign FC’s home match against the Houston Dash on Sunday, June 2 at 1:00 p.m. PT. Tickets are available here, or by calling the Reign FC ticket office at (855) REIGN-FC.