Washington Spirit forward Crystal Dunn, the last cut on the 2015 US Women’s World Cup team, turned that snub into an opportunity to show off all her skills, finishing the 2015 regular season with a league-high 15 goals and winning the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) Most Valuable Player award. Dunn is the third player in three years to win both the Golden Boot, as the league’s leading scorer, and MVP award.
Dunn, 23, a Rockville Centre native, also becomes the youngest player in the three-year history of the NWSL to win these awards.
She set a new NWSL record with 0.75 goals-per-team-game. Her 15 goals rank second all-time in a single season, one behind Kim Little’s 16 goals in a 24-game regular season in 2014 as the 2015 season was reduced to 20 games. Dunn’s outstanding play this year has given her another opportunity with the US Women’s National Team as they play friendly games and train for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Dunn was selected first overall at the 2014 National Women’s Soccer League Draft. She spent her formative years in the Long Island Junior Soccer League (LIJSL), playing for the Rockville Centre Power, Rockville Centre Tornadoes and Albertson Fury ‘91. She also developed her talent with Eastern New York’s Olympic Development Program, competing in ODP for six years, and used it as a springboard to represent the USA internationally.
“From the age of nine, Crystal displayed a tremendous desire to learn about the game,” said Tim Bradbury, who coached Crystal on her two Rockville Centre youth teams and is now Eastern New York’s Director of Coaching Instruction. “Her drive and desire to understand all the things you teach a developing youth player were incredible. Crystal’s energy and courage for her size were as impressive as her desire to learn.”
As a junior at the University of North Carolina, she won the Hermann Trophy as college soccer’s best player, scoring five goals, in leading the Tar Heels to the 2012 NCAA championship. The versatile Dunn was named the 2010 and 2012 Atlantic Coast Conference Defensive Player of the Year, plus the 2013 ACC Offensive Player of the Year while scoring 14 goals. She was the first player to be honored as ACC Player of the Year three times since Mia Hamm a generation ago, who also played for the University of North Carolina and the Spirit’s predecessor, the Washington Freedom.