A year ago this month, as the United States Women’s National Soccer Team demolished Japan to win their thirdWomen’s World Cup title, Crystal Dunn watched the same way 25 million other Americans did: from home.Dunn, the diminutive 24-year-old star of the National Women’s Soccer League’s Washington Spirit, was by most accounts the 24th player on the 23-person World Cup roster ― manager Jill Ellis’ final cut before the team traveled to Canada.
It caught her by surprise.“I wasn’t really anticipating not being a part of the World Cup,” Dunn said after a training session with the Spirit in early July. “I was upset and pissed.”But when the Americans head to Rio de Janeiro in August to pursue an unprecedented fourth consecutive Olympic gold medal, the heartache that came with missing out on the World Cup can finally go away. After a year in which she broke out as the top goal-scorer in the NWSL, Dunn has also emerged as one of the USWNT’s most versatile, and potentially most important, young players.
She’s good enough to help you however she’s needed.”Former USWNT defender Kate Markgraf on Crystal Dunn“One thing that Crystal has proven is that she’s been a winner at every single level,” said former USWNT defender Kate Markgraf, now a broadcast analyst for ESPN. “I first saw her at the U-20 World Cup, and she was the MVP for me. You watch her in college and she’s dominating at forward. She’s a match winner, at every single level she’s played at.”“She’s good enough,” Markgraf added, “to help you however she’s needed.”