New Hyde Park native Crystal Dunn is one of 23 women headed to France this summer in pursuit of the United States’ second consecutive Women’s World Cup title.
This will be the first World Cup appearance for the 26-year-old soccer player and South Side High School alum.
“I can’t wait to compete and help my squad win this thing,” Dunn wrote in an Instagram caption last Friday accompanying a photo of her dancing in front of her jersey number 19.
Even before heading off to college, where she led the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to a national championship, Dunn was making a national impact.
She played on the U-17 national team before helping her Rockville Centre high school achieve a state title her senior year.
“Dunn plays as if the girl with the ball – in the rare instances she doesn’t have possession herself – just stole her lunch money,” Newsday’s Chris Mascaro wrote in 2009, following South Side’s Class A state win.
In 2015, Dunn was a year into her professional career when the last World Cup roster was announced, and she learned she hadn’t made it.
“I think as soon as I got that news, I went through my venting stage,” Dunn told USA Today Sports that year. “But then I was like, I’m gonna prove to myself I can reach my potential and get to where I gotta go. I started saying that I have things to work on.”
Dunn’s career has been nonstop since then.
In 2016 she played more games for the Women’s National Team than she had in her first three years combined, according to U.S. Soccer. She was also an Olympian in the Rio games, where her goal against Colombia helped the United States tie.
She has played on professional teams in Maryland and England and is currently a forward for the North Carolina Courage.
Throughout her career, Dunn has played everywhere on the field. She is slated to be a defender for the World Cup team but was a midfielder for her college team and has been a striker for the U.S. Women’s National Team.
The United States will play its first World Cup game June 11 against Thailand. It won the most recent tournament as well as the title in 1999 and 1991. The women have never placed lower than third.
“I think our chances are great,” Dunn said on “Fox & Friends” this week. “I think for us it’s taking one game at a time.”