The United States Women’s Soccer team captured its second consecutive World Cup title after defeating the Netherlands, 2-0, in the final in France. While offensive stars Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan got plenty of spotlight for their spectacular play, charismatic celebrations, and outspoken remarks off the pitch, the USA defense was every bit as stellar in its championship performance.
One of the group’s linchpins is 27-year-old Crystal Dunn. A natural forward, Dunn was playing out of position as a left back in coach Jill Ellis’s attack-heavy scheme. Her selflessness, versatility and motor on the backline proved invaluable to America’s quest in winning back-to-back championships. Here’s more to know about Dunn.
She Was a High School Superstar From Long Island, N.Y.
Dunn grew up in Rockville Centre, N.Y. with her parents Vincent and Rhonda, and her brother Henry. Dunn was introduced to the game at an early age—joining the Rockville Centre Soccer Club at just 4 years old. As Dunn traveled up the youth ranks, the trophies and awards began mounting for the Long Island native. She won several Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association State Cup championships while playing for travel teams in the area.
“Crystal has a genuine love for the game and a true desire to be the very best,” said Tim Bradbury in 2013. He was ENYYSA’s Director of Coaching Instruction and coached one of Dunn’s travel squads. “She was the first to arrive at practice and the last to leave.”
Things weren’t much different when Dunn enrolled at South Side High School. She led her school to three state championships in 2006, 2007 and 2009. She only played three games in 2008 because of commitments to the U.S. National team. Dunn only lost two games in her entire high school career, and as a senior, won five separate Player of the Year awards—including the New York Gatorade Player of the Year award. She capped off her time at South Side by scoring four goals in the team’s state championship win in 2009.