Minnesota United has expanded its defensive ranks with the signing of New Zealand international defender Michael Boxall. He brings MLS and international experience to MNUFC, including recent action with New Zealand in the FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia. Boxall will be added to Minnesota's roster pending receipt of his ITC and P-1 Visa.
“We are really pleased to have added a player of his quality. He is a versatile player, can play right back, can play center back,” said MNUFC head coach Adrian Heath. “He’s got experience on the international stage with New Zealand and he’s gotten better as his career has progressed. We think he is a player who is going to push everybody for a starting role on this team moving forward, we know he is chomping at the bit to get going.”
Boxall, who plays primarily at right back, joins the Loons after two seasons with SuperSport United in the South African Premier Division. His flexibility along the back line — where he can also play center back — will add experience and positional depth to the squad.
“Excited to be here, I had heard a lot of positive things about the coaching staff here and that got me excited to join the club,” said Boxall. “Being involved in something from the very start and the opportunity to build something special here meant a lot. I’m very excited to get to know my teammates, the coaching staff and all the fans here in Minnesota.”
He began his career in his home country with Auckland City FC, but later came to the U.S. to attend UC Santa Barbara where he played four seasons for the Gauchos. He would go on to be named to the All-Big West First Team in 2009 and win the 2010 Big West Defender of the Year award.
Boxall was selected first overall in the 2011 MLS Supplemental Draft by Vancouver Whitecaps FC ahead of its inaugural MLS season. He made 19 league appearances for Whitecaps FC, starting in 18 of them. He also helped Vancouver to the Canadian Championship final that year, where they would fall 3-2 on aggregate to Toronto FC.
In July 2012, Boxall joined Wellington Phoenix in the Australian A-League. He mainly played off the bench, but came into his own during the 2014–15 campaign where he had a pair of goals and an assist in 18 appearances, helping the club to a spot in the postseason.
His move to SuperSport United came the following season. He immediately adopted a key role for the club, featuring in nearly every match during his two seasons with the club. Boxall helped lead the team to back-to-back Nedbank Cup titles, toppling South African powerhouse Orlando Pirates in both championship matches.
At the international level, Boxall has 25 appearances for the New Zealand men’s national team, making his debut in 2011. He has mainly played in international friendlies, but in recent years has become a mainstay in World Cup qualifying matches as well. He got his first international assist last year against the United States, tying the match at 1-1 late in the second half.
Boxall joins MNUFC ahead of its international friendly match against Mexico’s Atlas FC on Saturday, July 15 at TCF Bank Stadium. The match kicks off at 7:30 p.m. CT and tickets can be purchased at MNUFC.COM/tickets.
Born: 8.18.1988 (28 years old)
Weight: 200 lbs
Last Club: SuperSport United
Hometown: Auckland, New Zealand
Birthplace: Auckland, New Zealand