Washington Spirit Select Crystal Dunn as the NWSL’s Top Draft Pick

Cynthia Hobgood

Owners of the top pick in today's NWSL College Draft, the Washington Spirit selected Crystal Dunn from the University of North Carolina.

In an instant, Mark Parsons upgraded his team rather significantly, with the addition of Dunn.

Dunn, 21 has earned eight caps for the United States Women's National Team. She was a member of the U-20 U.S. team that won the 2012 FIFA Under-20 Women's World Cup title in Japan, playing every minute of all six matches.

During her college career at the University of North Carolina, she won the MAC Hermann Trophy as college soccer's best player in 2012 during her junior year, scoring five goals. She was named the 2013 ACC Offensive Player of the year for her senior season, scoring 14 goals. Dunn was also ACC Defensive Player of the Year in 2010 and 2012. And she became the first player since Mia Hamm to win the ACC player of the year three times since Mia Hamm in 1993 and was named All-ACC all four years in college.

Hailing from Rockville Centre, NY, Dunn was named the New York Gatorade High School Player of the Year in 2009.

Dunn has played all over the field for UNC, but primarily in the midfield. For the US, she has played on defense.

Knowing how critical improved offense is for Washington, I imagine Mark Parsons wants to play Dunn as an attacking midfielder. Frankly, I see her specific strengths and goal-scoring ability as being wasted on defense.

I'm curious how being drafted by Washington will affect her play for the U.S. It might be nice opportunity for Coach Tom Sermanni to get a look at Dunn playing in a more offensive position against top quality opponents. Or it may also give him a chance to see her play at left outside back, as I would not expect her to displace Ali Krieger on the right side.

Regardless, Washington acquired a player with tremendous speed and goal-scoring ability today. The pick was a no-brainer. I suspect Parsons is glad to have it officially behind him so he can finalize the rest of his roster.

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