The Last One Cut: Crystal Dunn

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While every athlete that played in the 2015 Women’s World Cup came closer to hoisting the trophy than any regular fan or critic, one player who didn’t play in the tournament may have come the closest without ever stepping foot on the pitch.

Crystal Dunn, 2015 USWNT

In 2015 Crystal Dunn was the last player to be cut from the United States Women’s National Team, the 24th person on a roster that only had 23 spots. The team would then go on to win their third Women’s World Cup title. She was even added to the roster for the World Cup Victory tour, despite having never actually played in the tournament.

In their first match against Haiti, she assisted two of Carli Lloyd’s goals, and scored her first national team goal in the closing minutes. It was sign that mistakes were made, and they were going to be corrected. It wasn’t the last time she’d produce in a big way either.

Crystal Dunn currently has 24 international goals to her name, 12 of them occurred during a hot streak of 2016. That year, against Puerto Rico she scored five goals alone while sharing the field with the likes of Alex Morgan, Mallory Pugh, and Christen Press.

In a game where the USWNT scored 10 goals total, Dunn scored 5 herself.

She knows her role in the team and plays it well, “I’m in the back line, so I have to be scrappy and kind of get stuck in these tackles.”

She also knows that 2019 is her moment. At 26 she has at best, one more chance at a World Cup, and she isn’t planning on waiting four more years.

When asked about her plan is going into France this summer, she’s crystalline, “Feeling free, and being creative on the field.”

US Women’s National Team supporters can get the latest jerseys and apparel in anticipation for this summer’s Women’s World Cup 2019 tournament from


  1. Might have been for the best. If she’d been picked in 2015, she’d have ridden the bench as the #23 player. Instead, she tore up the league for the Washington Spirit (though I may be biased as I’m a Spirit fan) and proved beyond any doubt her capabilities as a player.

    I would not also rule out her being in the 2023 or 2027 WWC. There are four players on the team who’ll be 34 before the tournament is over and ten who’ll be at least 30.


    1. Agreed, she certainly made use of the four year wait.

      While 2023 may be possible, life can find a variety of ways to get in the way. The potential is there, but is it greater than her potential to pursue a different path? Or decide the National Team is a younger woman’s game? Plus can she have the impact in 2023 the same way that she can in 2019? Whether she gets another chance at the World Cup, 2019 still seems like her best moment.

      I think 2027 is unlikely, but appreciate your optimism. Thanks for reading!


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