World Cup champion and Rockville Centre native Crystal Dunn headlined the roster announced Tuesday by U.S. women’s national team coach Jill Ellis for next month’s Olympic qualification tournament.Crystal Dunn is among 20 on USWNT Olympics qualifying roster
Ellis also included promising young players Emily Sonnett, Samantha Mewis, Dunn and 17-year-old sensation Mallory Pugh, the youngest woman ever named to a U.S. qualifying roster.
The roster, with NWSL affiliation, includes:
Goalkeepers: Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars), Hope Solo (Seattle Reign FC).
Defenders: Jaelene Hinkle (Western New York Flash), Julie Johnston (Chicago Red Stars), Meghan Klingenberg (Portland Thorns FC), Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit), Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City), Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns FC).
Midfielders: Morgan Brian (Houston Dash), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC), Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash), Samantha Mewis (Western New York Flash).
Forwards: Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit), Stephanie McCaffrey (Boston Breakers), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), Mallory Pugh (Real Colorado).
The 23-year-old Dunn can play defense, midfield and forward. Her versatility has made her an invaluable performer since there are five fewer spots on the 18-player Olympic roster than for the WWC. Dunn sees herself as a midfielder.
“Midfielders have the best of both worlds,” she said. “They could score. They can also assist. They play quite a bit of defense as well. It’s always been a position where I express myself and the different dynamics of the game.”
Dunn’s resilience impressed WWC coach Jill Ellis, who brought her in for the CONCACAF Olympic Women’s Championship that kicks off at two sites in Texas Wednesday.
“She could have gone home and put her head down,” Ellis said. “It energized her. The disappointment wore off and the motivation kicked in.”
Washington Spirit forward Crystal Dunn was voted the National Women’s Soccer League Most Valuable Player for the 2015 NWSL season, the league announced Wednesday.
Dunn, 23, becomes the youngest player to win the award – ahead of 2014 MVP Kim Little (who was 24 at the time) and 2013 MVP Lauren Holiday (who was 25).
The Rockville Centre, N.Y. native also became the third consecutive NWSL Golden Boot winner – honoring the player with the most goals in a season – to go on to be voted MVP in the same year.