Thorns' Danielle Foxhoven embraces her community, locally and worldwide
Thorns FC midfielder Danielle Foxhoven has a mind for soccer and a heart for the Portland community. As a standout player for the University of Portland for four years (2008-11), Foxhoven finished her career ranked fourth all-time on the Pilots goal-scoring chart with 57 goals in 87 games. Following a stint playing abroad professionally in Russia, she is back in the Rose City and continues to share her love of the game by working actively in the local community helping kids play soccer and encouraging active lifestyles.
Foxhoven’s first instance in combining soccer with outreach came while playing collegiately on the Bluff at UP, founding Equipment Across Continents in 2010 as she worked toward a business degree.
“I think community involvement is crucial for both individuals and teams,” she said. “In order for the community to truly be behind a team the team needs to be involved in the community.”
Equipment Across Continents is a program associated with Coaches Across Continents which collects and ships soccer equipment to economically-challenged kids locally, across the U.S. and to developing countries. The program has since grown to include Africa, India and Southeast Asia. Foxhoven plans to visit Indonesia, India, Nepal and possibly South Africa with the program for a couple months after the end of the National Women’s Soccer League season.
“I knew that I had a lot of access to a lot of equipment, and I just know that there’s a huge need for it around the world, and we have just such an abundance of it here,” Foxhoven said.
It’s not the first time soccer will lead Foxhoven abroad. Despite being drafted by the Philadelphia Independence in the 2012 WPS Draft, Foxhoven signed with Russian side FC Energiya Voronezh in February 2012 after WPS ceased operations. The Colorado native spent several months in Russia, scoring six goals in nine appearances including a hat-trick on April 26, 2012 against Kubanochka before returning to Portland and joining her alma mater as an assistant coach.
“Dani will be a great complement to our already strong attacking players,” Thorns FC head coach Cindy Parlow Cone said. “She is great at linking up play between the midfield and forward lines. She is also a great passer and will help break down opposing team’s defenses.
“We chose Dani because of her soccer ability but it is a huge bonus that she has such strong ties to the Portland area as well,” Cone said.
Locally, Foxhoven has jumped on board with AC Portland, an afterschool program serving more than 400 kids that helps keep them active, healthy and engaged in positive afterschool activities through youth soccer. The recipient of a Timbers Stand Together community fund grant in 2012, AC Portland along with the Timbers, adidas, the Timbers Army, the 107ist and others helped fund the construction of a new soccer field at James John Elementary School in North Portland in 2011.
“I love their program and I truly feel like they are paving a better road for the children in Portland to lead better lives,” said the two-time All-West Coast Conference selection. “I also love that it is so close and I can see it and be hands on and work with the kids.”
“It feels incredible and I’m so happy and honored to play here. To be able to play for the city I love and in front of the people that I love, it’s a dream come true.
“My goals are just to be present where I am and truly to learn to from the two best forwards in the world right now, Christine Sinclair and Alex Morgan,” she said. “I am going to make the most of it for myself. I want to learn from them every day.”
And while the opportunity to play alongside the likes of Sinclair and Morgan is certainly exciting, Foxhoven has also embraced the unexpected when it comes to playing professionally.
“I’ve learned as a female athlete and a professional athlete you have no control over where you are,” she said.
For Foxhoven, it all comes back to the community.
“I think the game has shaped me to be exactly the person I am,” she said. “It’s taught me so many life lessons about being a leader, a teammate, a friend and what it means to give back to people that have helped you, on and off the field.”