Defender Was One Of The Most Decorated Players In State History And Played A Huge Role In Americans' 4th World Cup Title


AT-A-GLANCE:

ROCKVILLE CENTRE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Among those being honored at Wednesday’s parade recognizing the U.S. Women’s National Team is a woman from Long Island. And let’s just say soccer comes Crystal clear to her.

CBS2’s Jessica Layton has more on the home town pride Rockville Center has for Crystal Dunn.

It was a group hug the whole world watched, but no arms are long enough to fit in the millions of Americans who wanted to be a part of it, especially those on Long Island.

Since 27-year-old Dunn, a Rockville Centre native, helped the U.S. win its fourth FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Crystal Dunn, left, of the United States runs with the ball past Danielle Van De Donk of the Netherlands during the Women’s World Cup final at Stade de Lyon on July 7, 2019 in Lyon, France. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

It’s on the field at South Side High School, where her journey started.

“This is me right here in the second row and this is Crystal right over there,” friend Alex Reis said as she showed Layton a team picture.

When Alex was a high school freshman, Crystal was a senior. Dunn helped lead her team to three New York State championships.

“Being on the team with Crystal, it was just an amazing experience. She was obviously such an elevated player and having her be a captain and a senior when I was a freshman, you just learn so much,” Reis said.

Now, Reis, along with her two sisters, is using those skills to run a pre-season boot camp for the high school girl’s soccer team. Dunn is their inspiration.

“Shes a great example for soccer, but also a great example to just become the person that you want to become,” Victoria Reis said.

She has served as a great motivator for 14-year-old Brenna Haynes, who plays left back, just like Dunn.

“Crystal Dunn came from the same background as us and she played at the same fields that we do, went to the same school that we do, so it’s incredible,” Haynes said.

And since Dunn was also the team’s captain, the current one is looking to push the team harder than ever.

“After her World Cup run, we have a big journey behind us that we have to really fulfill,” Lara Solano said.

It’s a journey that may lead one of these girls down the same path as Crystal.

Dunn was a four-year starter at South Side. She lost just two games during her final three seasons.