UNC's Crystal Dunn shows off the Missouri Athletic Club's Hermann...

UNC's Crystal Dunn shows off the Missouri Athletic Club's Hermann Award, which is presented to the top men's and women's collegiate soccer player. (Jan. 11, 2013) Credit: UNC photo

Crystal Dunn has proved to be a triple threat, not only playing three positions, but excelling at them for championship teams.

1) Performing at right back, she set up the United States' goal in a 1-0 win over Germany in the Under-20 Women's World Cup final.

2) She returned to the University of North Carolina, solidifying the defense as center back to win ACC defender of the year.

3) Dunn was deployed as a central midfielder, becoming a vital cog in the Tar Heels' NCAA Division I women's title run.

The Rockville Centre resident and South Side graduate was rewarded for her excellence Friday, being named the winner of the Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy as the best women's player in the country as a junior.

Dunn said "2012 was definitely a special year. It's very hard to duplicate. I feel on top of the world. I feel so very honored to be named national player of the year. Just coming off the World Cup, going into that with the mind-set of missing college, things like that really prepared me for facing life and adversity."

She scored or created a goal in each of UNC's five tournament games. "My teammates make it really easy for me to transition from position to position," she said. "They never get down on me if I don't play to my ability. It's not easy to jump from position to position with responsibilities put on you."

UNC coach Anson Dorrance obviously knows a good thing when he sees one, calling Dunn an "incredibly versatile and brilliant young player."

"We're going to leave her right where she is to wreak havoc in the back," he said.

Dorrance, who coached the U.S. to the 1991 WWC title, felt Dunn's impact will extend beyond college.

"She will easily be a top draft choice next year when she graduates," he said of the new National Women's Soccer League. "My guess is that it won't be just the U.S. pro teams competing to get her. This girl will be an international superstar. She'll also be recruited by all of the top pro teams in the world, not just because of her versatility but because she is extraordinarily effective . . . Her impact will be further embellished by a long professional career, but also opportunities with the U.S. team and the Olympics."

Dunn wasn't thinking that far ahead. "I probably wouldn't hear about that probably for another year or so," she said. "I have another year of college. I'm going to continue my normal routine. If I get a call, I get a call and I'll be super happy."

Top Stories