The Portland Thorns star believes that she has earned the right to be synonymous with the sport in the United States
U.S. women’s national team star Crystal Dunn has said she hopes to one day be the face of the sport.
The 28-year-old has become one of the most important players on the USWNT, playing a vital role in the team’s 2019 World Cup win.
Dunn is naturally an attacking player but has been successfully deployed as a makeshift left-back with the USWNT.
As the U.S. continues to undergo a reckoning over race, Dunn hopes that her talent along with her outspoken advocacy will make her the ideal representative of the sport.
“With my versatility and being one of the few Black women on the U.S. women’s national team, what I would have loved to see happen earlier, which I still hope will happen, is to be recognized as a face of women’s soccer,” Dunn told Forbes.
“I am recognized as a player on the national team, which is great. But what I would like to see shift is the whole idea that this sport is predominantly white or that it is a white person’s face that is the face of women’s soccer.
“I have earned the right to be posterized and be a part of huge campaigns and lead the way for women’s soccer and not feel like I am just a player.”
Though Dunn has earned plaudits for her ability to play many different positions, she confessed that she doesn’t necessarily revel in her versatility.
“I never wanted to be a versatile player,” said Dunn. “Most people want to be great at something. If you are a striker, you want to be known for scoring goals, assisting and creating goals. For me, I did not get the luxury of working on one quality. I have to be good at scoring and creating goals and good at defending.”
Dunn is hoping that as perceptions shift around Black athletes in all sports, she will be recognized in her preferred position as an attacking playmaker.
“For a long time, Black quarterbacks were an anomaly,” Dunn said.
“That is why I’m so passionate about wanting to be seen as a 10 because it is a position that not a lot of Black women play.
“Black women, I would say, are mostly center backs, outside backs, and wide forwards. Playing at a 10 means that I am now combating the stereotypes of being fast, physical, and strong.
“I am passionate about wanting the world to see more Black women, especially in the roles that don’t fit the stereotypes that have been placed on us; that goes against everything that people have seen and use to describe Black athletes.”