Crystal Dunn’s more natural position is as an attacking player. (FrontRowSoccer.com Photo)
By Michael Lewis
NEW YORK — For a good portion of the past two years under Jill Ellis, one of the best attacking players in all of the women’s game has played mostly at left back for the U.S. women’s national team.
Will Rockville Centre, N.Y. native Crystal Dunn get an opportunity to strut her stuff at forward or midfield under new women’s head coach Vlatko Andonovski?
Well, it might be too early to tell. During the press conference that introduced him to the media and the U.S. Soccer community at Hotel Eventi Monday afternoon, Andonovski was non-committal.
He’s got a lot on his plate.
“Honestly, I did not have a lot of time to think about everything,” Andonovski said. “I got the job less than two days ago. But in preparation for it, I did a lot of thinking.
“Crystal Dunn is a versatile player. That’s what makes her special. Not just Crystal Dunn, anyone that’s on the roster will be put in a position that we feel they can strive to get better and develop but at the same time, help the team to be successful.”
Dunn, who played for the Albertson Soccer Club and Rockville Centre Soccer Club, played a tenacious defense in helping the USA capture its second consecutive Women’s World Cup, in France this summer.
For her club team, the National Women’s Soccer League champion North Carolina Courage, Dunn plays as a playmaking midfielder, a role many soccer observers have felt is a better position for the University of North Carolina product to display her talents.
That’s just one of the many decisions Andonovski must make over the next few months.
With several players on the U.S. squad over the age of 30, including veteran forwards Megan Rapinoe (34), the Golden Boot and Ball winner at France 2019, and Carli Lloyd (37), the Golden Ball winner at Canada 2015, Andonovski might the unenviable task of having to tell a legend or two that they might not make the squad for the 2020 Olympics.
Andonovski indicated that he did not care about a players’ age.
“The most important thing is who can do the job,” he said. “Performance is what matters on who is going to be on the team who who’s not going to be on the team. When we’re talking performance, we’re talking about performance in training and performance in a game. In the end, the ones that deserve to play I believe will give us the best chance to be successful to be on the roster and on the field.”