January 3, 2017
HER PATH IS CRYSTAL CLEAR
Dunn signs to play with Chelsea Ladies
By Michael Lewis
|Crystal Dunn: "Itís a big personal challenge for me but I am ready to take this next step in my career."
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
Rockville Centre, N.Y. native Crystal Dunn became the second U.S. international to join a European team as she signed a contract to play for Chelsea Ladies FC Monday.
On Dec. 20, U.S. and Orlando Pride striker Alex Morgan announced that she would will for Olympique Lyonnaise in France. Morgan will perform for the Pride in the second half of the National Women's Soccer League season.
Dunn, a midfielder-forward who most recently played with the Washington Spirit, signed a contract with FA WSL team until 2018, Chelsea announced.
"Itís a big personal challenge for me but I am ready to take this next step in my career," Dunn told the Chelsea website. "Playing for Chelsea is a unique opportunity for me to take my game to another level and I think the moment is right."
The 24-year-old Dunn played for the Rockville Centre S.C. and Albertson Fury. She earned NWSL MVP honors in 2015 after finishing up as the team's leading goal-scorer in 2015.
"I have only been to London once before but there is something that grabbed me about Chelsea," Dunn said. "The whole family culture - the unity, the morale - is making it feel just like home."
Dunn, the last cut from the 2015 U.S. squad that captured the 2015 Women's World Cup, helped the Spirit reach the NWSL final against the Western New York Flash, guided by her former Albertson coach, Paul Riley. Dunn scored both Spirit goals, but Washington lost in a shootout.
"Iím excited because Chelsea has a large fanbase and their relationship with the menís team alone is just incredible," Dunn was quoted by the website. "Iím looking forward to the games and to seeing all the fans who come out and support and hopefully we can all help add to the growth of women's football in England.
"I'm going to give my all. It would be a dream to play in the Champions League and I am ready to help out the team in any way. Iím excited to join my new team-mates and join forces with them.'
Chelsea is coached by Emma Hayes, who once directed the Long Island Lady Riders.
"Crystal is hands-down one of the best young players to have come through in the United States in recent years," Hayes said. "Sheís just been voted second in US Soccer's Female Athlete of the Year, she is a Hermann Trophy winner, she has been a league top scorer and she has come out of a fantastic college programme. We are really getting a top-quality player coming to England.
"She is incredibly dynamic, she is very quick and when she gets in and around the penalty box, she is absolutely devastating. She has the ability one v one to tear teams to shreds and she has good versatility as she can play in a wing-back or full-back role for us, as well as playing in any of the front-three positions. Importantly, she brings the world-class quality we have been looking to add to our squad."