RVC native Crystal Dunn readies for Gotham FC debut


Rockville Centre native Crystal Dunn, a two-time Olympian and 2019 FIFA World Cup winner, will make her debut with the New York/New Jersey Gotham FC in March, after agreeing to a multi-year contract with the club through 2026.

“I am so excited to join Gotham and return back home,” Dunn said in a press release. “This place is one that I hold close to my heart. I am looking forward to playing alongside top players that will bring out the best in me, as we all work together to push this club to achieve even more success this upcoming season and beyond.”

To kick off the 2024 season of the National Women’s Soccer League, the 31-year-old all-star will compete against her former teammates with the Portland Thorns FC on March 24. Following the match, they will travel back to the East Coast for a quarterfinal rematch the North Carolina Courage.

Dunn previously played for the Courage during the 2018 and 2019 seasons, where she helped lead the team to two back-to-back NWSL championship titles.

She first made a name for herself as a star forward for the South Side High School Lady Cyclones, leading the team to three state championship titles in 2006, 2007 and 2009. During her four years with the girls’ varsity team, she scored a total of 46 goals and 39 assists — most memorably of which was her performance at the 2009 state championships, where she scored a hat trick within the first 20 minutes of the match.

Dunn went on to attend the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, where she would lead the Tarheels to their 21st NCAA championship, after which she made the decision to turn pro. Before graduating, she was drafted as the No. 1 overall pick by the Washington Spirit in 2014.

In her debut season, Dunn became the youngest player in the league’s history to receive both the Most Valuable Player and Golden Boot awards at age 23.

Following three seasons with the Spirit, she traveled to England where she joined the Chelsea Ladies Football League for a brief time. She was also a key player during the United States Women’s National Team’s 2019 FIFA World Cup championship against the Netherlands. 

Dunn was picked up by the Thorns in 2020 through a three-team trade with Seattle, and in February 2021, signed a three-year contract with the team.

She would miss a majority of the 2022 season due to her pregnancy but would return to the league to finish out the season, almost four months after giving birth to her first son, Marcel, and help the Thorns win the NWSL championship.

The 2023 season did not go well for the Thorns. Despite finishing the regular season as the No. 2 seed, they were eliminated by Gotham FC early into the postseason. Dunn, however, was nominated for 2023 U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year for her efforts leading the club to one of its best defensive years in history.

“Crystal is an exceptional player who can play anywhere at any time and have an incredible impact on the game,” Gotham FC Head Coach Juan Carlos Amorós, said. “We are excited to have a player of her quality join us for this upcoming season as we look to continue to build upon the success of last season.”

Dunn announced her departure from the Thorns on social media in November, and was acquired by New York/New Jersey as an unrestricted free agent in late December.

Her return to New York — a homecoming of sorts — will help set the stage for the start of her 10th professional season with the NWSL next month.

“Crystal is a high-caliber player and champion who brings amazing energy to everything she does, both on and off the field,” Gotham FC General Manager and Head of Soccer Operations Yael Averbuch West, said. “Adding an incredible player like Crystal to our championship roster is an exciting step forward for the club and our fans.”