While it might not garner the large amount of publicity that the Heisman Trophy does, the MAC Hermann Trophy to the best player in college soccer will be awarded on Jan. 11 at the Missouri Athletic Club in St. Louis.
Rockville Centre resident and former Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) Olympic Development Program player Crystal Dunn is one of three finalists for the award. The University of North Carolina junior defender is a finalist along with University of Virginia senior forward Caroline Miller and Penn State senior midfielder Christine Nairn.
Dunn developed her skills with the Olympic Development Program, playing ODP for six years, and used it as a springboard to represent the USA internationally.
She also spent her formative years in the Long Island Junior Soccer League (LIJSL), the largest league in ENYYSA. The Rockville Centre resident played for the Rockville Centre Power, Rockville Centre Tornadoes and Albertson Fury ‘91.
2012 was a terrific year for Crystal as she won the Under-20 Women’s World Cup while representing the United States internationally in Japan in September and won the NCAA championship with the Tar Heels in December.
Dunn assisted on fellow Tar Heel Kealia Ohai’s goal, the only goal in the Under-20 Women’s World Cup final, in a 1-0 victory over Germany.
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After returning to Chapel Hill, Dunn started the next 11 games and helped the Tar Heel defense to three shutouts, all in Atlantic Coast Conference action, and a 0.71 goals against average. By the time the Tar Heels nailed down their 22nd national championship in early December, she had appeared in 17 games (all starts), garnering 15 points on five goals and five assists.
Dunn was named the Soccer America Freshman of the Year in 2010 and is the only player in ACC history to earn Defensive Player of the Year honors twice.
“Crystal has a genuine love for the game and a true desire to be the very best,” said Tim Bradbury, ENYYSA’s Director of Coaching Instruction who coached her on the Power and Tornadoes. “She was the first to arrive at practice and the last to leave. Now when she comes home to Rockville Centre, she often plays against some of the boys teams I train."
“Crystal has really adapted her game to become a world-class defender,” added Paul Riley, her coach with the Albertson Fury, “The assist in the Under-20 Women’s World Cup final sums her strengths: speed, great one-on-one ability and the poise to make the final ball count. She will play on the full women’s national team one day.”
The above was submitted by Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association.