The United States women’s soccer team’s 2-0 victory over the Netherlands on Sunday to win the World Cup was also a win for Long Island.
Crystal Dunn, a defender for the women’s soccer team, was born in New Hyde Park and raised in Rockville Centre. She attended South Side High School, where she was a four-year starter for the school’s soccer team. During her tenure at South Side, she served as forward and midfielder and as team captain in 2008 and 2009.
On Monday, a day after winning, Dunn tweeted, “Woke up this morning and all I can still say is W.O.W… I’m a WORLD CHAMPION.” This was the first World Cup appearance for the 26-year-oldplayer.
On the team, her official position is as a defender, but the Team USA’s website says, “Versatile and ruthless, Crystal Dunn excels in virtually every position on the field.”
Her description states, “After lining up as a forward, midfielder and defender during her time at UNC, Dunn crystalized her position as a wing-back with the USWNT in 2018. She continues to appear as an outside midfielder, forward and even an attacking center mid for her current club, the North Carolina Courage.”
According to the USA soccer website, Dunn won five separate Player of the Year awards as a senior in high school, including the New York Gatorade Player of the Year award.
In a News12 interview, former South Side coach Judy Croutier said, “She was just able to hit another speed that other people couldn’t.”
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.”
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.