Long Island native Crystal Dunn has a new home in the National Women’s Soccer League.
The World Cup winner and former NWSL MVP is joining Portland Thorns FC for the 2021 season. Dunn was acquired by the Thorns from OL Reign, who traded for Dunn from the North Carolina Courage earlier Thursday. OL Reign received allocation money, an international roster spot for the 2021 season and Portland’s natural first-round pick in the 2022 NWSL College Draft in the deal.
"We are delighted to add a world-class player to an already talented group," Thorns GM Gavin Wilkinson said in a news release. "Crystal has proven herself on the international level and been a dominant player in the NWSL for many years. Her professionalism and presence will reinforce and add to the strong culture we have in this club."
According to a statement by OL Reign CEO Bill Predmore, Portland was Dunn's desired destination. Her husband, Pierre Soubrier, is the Thorns' head athletic trainer.
"Crystal’s agent was adamant that it was her priority to join her husband at their home in Portland—there was simply no viable alternative for Crystal other than a move to Portland," said Predmore's statement. "In the absence of Portland and North Carolina being able to agree to a deal directly, we decided to play a role in facilitating what we viewed as an inevitable outcome."
A Rockville Centre native and South Side graduate, Dunn, 28, was the 2009 Newsday girls soccer player of the year. She spent the last three seasons with the Courage, winning championships in 2018 and 2019. She’s played seven NWSL seasons in her career, joining the league in 2014 as the No. 1 overall draft pick out of North Carolina by the Washington Spirit, where she was a league MVP and Golden Boot winner in 2015. She later played a year with Chelsea in the English FA Women’s Super League before returning to the NWSL in 2018. With the Courage, Dunn was among the most crucial players during the club’s championship runs in 2018 and 2019.
For much of her career, Dunn has been a fixture for the U.S. Women’s National Team, making the World Cup roster in 2019 and featuring as a left back during the team’s run to a fourth title.
"Crystal is a game-changer, and with her intelligence, dribbling, passing and finishing ability, she can unlock a game in a split second, while her defensive qualities and work rate make her as impactful off the ball as she is on it," Thorns coach Mark Parsons said in a statement. "She has a winning mentality, a contagious personality full of positivity and the desire to be the best and make people around her the best."
Dunn has been among the best attacking midfielders in the league in recent years, recording 15 goals and nine assists in 35 regular season matches with the Courage. She played five games in the NWSL Challenge Cup over the summer, scoring once. In her NWSL career, she has 32 goals and 20 assists.