Crystal Dunn recently announced her decision to sign with NJ/NY Gotham FC after spending three seasons with Portland Thorns FC. The World Cup winner’s decision to go to Gotham was linked to her New York roots, stating, “I am so excited to join Gotham and return back home!”
She is one of the few players from Long Island who have turned professional. She has taken her influence to the next level as one of the top female athletes to come out of New York.
As mentioned, Dunn was born on Long Island in New Hyde Park but was raised in Rockville Centre. She attended South Side High School and started her youth career in the Eastern New York Youth Soccer organization with the Alberston Fury, RVC Tornado, and the RVC Power.
During high school, the new Gotham player was noted as one of the best soccer players ever in the program, with 46 goals and 35 assists over three seasons. During that time, she was an active member of the U17 USWNT national team as she was forced to miss her entire sophomore year in 2008 while she was with the team in New Zealand for the U17 World Cup, where they got second place.
Crystal Dunn's professional journey and the road home
Dunn committed to the North Carolina Tarheels after successfully sending both her school and club teams to state titles. Dunn played all four seasons with North Carolina, scoring 28 goals with 20 assists while also winning the National Championship in 2012. She also won the Hermann Trophy in 2012 for the best female soccer player that season. She did miss part of her junior year, but it was for a good reason. She was in Japan for the U-20 World Cup and came home with a first-place finish.
Her success resulted in Dunn turning professional as she was selected first in the first round by the Washington Spirit during the 2014 NWSL Draft. This was one stop on her journey, for Dunn also played for Chelsea Football Club Women, the North Carolina Courage, and Portland.
Thus far, Dunn has had a long, successful career, for the Long Island native went on to win three NWSL titles, an NWSL Golden Boot title, an Olympic Bronze Medal, one World Cup, and several other individual and team trophies. With Gotham FC coming off their first title, this was a perfect time for Dunn to return to the Big Apple area.
However, Dunn is not the only one representing their home state. Justin Haak of NYCFC was one of the first players who signed a professional contract after playing for their academy. Raised in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, he skipped college and immediately played professionally after making his MLS debut in 2019.
Tayvon Gray is another player who grew up in the Bronx and has been representing the Boys in City Blue since joining the academy in 2017. Both players were also on the team that won the MLS Cup in 2021 and will play a crucial role heading into the 2024 season.
Not to mention other players who are also from the New York area, including USMNT and Juventus star Timothy Weah, Portland Thorns player Emily Menges, and the former NYCFC player Joe Scally. Dunn is another example of returning to her playing roots as she is set to play in the final years of her career as she enters her 11th professional season playing with NJ/NY Gotham FC.