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Long Islander named to U.S. women’s soccer team ahead of World Cup

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Rockville Centre soccer legend Crystal Dunn is heading to New Zealand as a member of the U.S. women’s national soccer team to prepare for the 2023 women’s World Cup.

The veteran defender is among the 24 players named this week by head coach Vlatko Andonovski to the roster for the January BioSteel Training Camp and trip to New Zealand that includes two matches against the Football Ferns, the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup co-hosts.

A three-time New York state champion with South Side High School who scored four goals in the first 20 minutes of the 2009 state championship, Dunn converted from attack to defense in 2019 to help lead the U.S. team to its second consecutive World Cup championship.

Dunn has played seven seasons in the National Women’s Soccer League, including the last two with Portland. In 2015, she scored a league-leading 15 goals and earned the league’s Most Valuable Player award. This fall, after giving birth to her first child Marcel in May, she returned to the pitch in time to help lead Portland to the NWSL championship.

She also played parts of two seasons with Chelsea in the Women’s Super League I in 2017 and 2018, helping the club reach the quarter-finals in the UEFA Women’s Champions League.

At North Carolina, she helped the Tar Heels win the 2012 NCAA women’s soccer championship and earned the Hermann Trophy, awarded to the country’s top college soccer player.

The ninth FIFA Women’s World Cup takes place July 20 – Aug. 20, across 10 stadiums in Australia and New Zealand. The U.S. team is slated to play in Group E, along with the Netherlands, Vietnam and a yet-to-be determined team.

“We’ve been thinking about and planning for the World Cup for a long time, but when the calendar turns to the World Cup year, for sure it brings some renewed focus and energy as the tournament starts in less than 200 days,” said Andonovski. “To get to bring the team to New Zealand in January and play in our World Cup venues has so many benefits, so we are going to make sure we maximize our time together, make this trip as productive as possible and enjoy a unique experience, as many of our players have never been to New Zealand before.”

Top photo: U.S. defender Crystal Dunn (19) gets the ball between Panama midfielders Gloria Saenz (16) and Aldrith Quintero (10) during the second half of a CONCACAF women’s Olympic qualifying soccer match Friday, Jan. 31, 2020, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)