There may not be a more versatile player in soccer than Crystal Dunn. The United States Women’s National Team star has excelled at several positions throughout her career, and despite some adversity, she has become one of the best players in the world. Born in New York, she quickly became one of the best players in the country. She had 46 goals and 35 assists in 3 seasons in high school, becoming so great that she missed the 2008 season due to youth national team commitments.
Dunn was a part of the United States U-17 national team that competed at the 2008 U-17 Women’s World Cup. She also was a member of the U-20 national team that competed in the 2010 U-20 Women’s World Cup and then won the 2012 U-20 Women’s World Cup.
During her time on the youth national teams, she graduated from high school and then went to college to play for the North Carolina Tar Heels. In college, she played as a forward, but also played at midfield and on defense in her 4 years in Chapel Hill. In during her junior season, in addition to winning the 2012 U-20 Women’s World Cup, she helped the Tar Heels win the the national championship. She was the 2012 Honda Award winner, the 2012 Hermann Trophy winner, and was an ESPY Awards finalist for Best Female Collegiate Athlete. It was then she began getting looks from the USWNT, making her debut on February 13, 2013 against Scotland. She also made the Algarve Cup roster, playing at left back instead of her normal position at forward.
After finishing her career at UNC, Dunn was the 1st overall pick in the 2014 NWSL Draft by the Washington Spirit. After a decent first year with the team in 2014, she was dropped from the USWNT for the CONCACAF Women’s Championship due to injury, which served as qualifying for the 2015 Women’s World Cup. She was back on the team and made the roster for friendlies in February 2015, and she also was named to the Algarve Cup roster, failing to appear in a match. Dunn eventually was one of the last players cut from the USWNT 23-woman roster for the 2015 Women’s World Cup.
She took her disappointment out on the NWSL, beginning to score in bunches for the Spirit. She finished the season with 15 goals, winning the 2015 NWSL Golden Boot and the league’s MVP award. At 23 years old, she became the youngest player to win both of those awards. She returned to the Spirit the following year, helping the team to the NWSL Championship final and scoring both Spirit goals in that title game. The Spirit ultimately lost on penalties.