Crystal Dunn: Flying Down the Wing Back to NWSL

Crystal Dunn has already achieved so much within the game, yet she still has so much more to give. One of the hottest young prodigies in the American footballing system has made good on her potential and there is no telling the heights she will soon scale.

Born in 1992 in New York, Crystal Dunn has always been aware she was talented. With the vast catchment area in New York, it would be hard to stand out but that was no problem for Dunn as at her High School she made it clear for everyone that she was one to watch. In her four years at South Side High School, Dunn scored 46 goals and assisted her teammates 35 times as she dominated and led her school to the New York State Championships on three separate occasions. During that run, her and her team only tasted defeat two times. All these achievements came with multiple accolades and she left High School having won 9 personal awards.

Dunn’s reputation was already increasing by the time she got to the University of North Carolina and joined the team. She concluded her first year at university by winning the All American Freshman of the year. During her third year, she became a world champion. She was called up and was a part of the United States U20 squad that went to Japan for the U20 World Cup and conquered Germany in the final. When she returned for the end of the university schedule, she scored both her teams’ goals in the quarter final on the way to them winning the NCAA Soccer Championships that year. Personal accolades continued to flow in as she was awarded the 2013 Hermann Trophy as well as the ACC Athlete of the Year.

By the time she had completed university, her buzz was undeniable and she was drafted as the 1st pick in the 2014 draft by the Washington Spirit. Both Dunn and the Spirit had a solid first season but ultimately didn’t win anything. Her second season in Washington saw Dunn scale the heights yet again, this time she won both the NWSL Golden Boot as well as the NWSL MVP and became the youngest player to ever win both awards at the age of 23. Those goals unfortunately couldn’t fire the Spirit to the NWSL Championship.

Chelsea were looking to make a big splash in the transfer market and Dunn took their attention, she was signed in January 2017, just in time for the Spring Series. She got a goal on her debut for the Blues and went on to win the Spring Series with the team.

Dunn is equally adept at playing on the wing as she is up front, and this duality has helped hone her talents. Her enthusiasm for the game meant that at Chelsea she was able to add another string to her bow as she became a star from the left wing back position. Using her pace and close ball control, she is always an attacking threat and can claim responsibility for contributing to a number of goals that Chelsea have scored so far this season.

After a year in London terrorising the defences up and down the league, North Carolina Courage came calling and the lure of the city she first made a name for herself was too much for her to turn down.

As Dunn embarks on the next stage of her career, she can have her head held high knowing that although her stay was short, she has left a huge impression on the Blues. Dunn goes back to America now to win the trophy that will mean the most to her, to add the NWSL trophy that is missing from her already bristling cabinet. In North Carolina, she has joined a team with the aspirations and qualities to match her own.