Crystal Dunn, Emily Sonnett, Tierna Davidson & Abby Dahlkemper
Seven defenders were named to the US Women’s World Cup roster. Three of them will be playing in their third World Cup. The other four are World Cup Debutants, playing in their very first World Cup. These four American defenders have plenty of National Team experience, but this will be their first time on the huge stage of the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Let’s learn more about them, shall we?
Crystal Dunn has been a fixture on the USA roster for a while now, and will likely start at left back for the USA in France. She’s 26 years old and plays her club soccer for North Carolina Courage.
- She’s tiny but mighty at 5’1″ and lightning fast.
- She can play anywhere. Jill Ellis has said Dunn is the most versatile player she has ever had on the USA roster.
- Like a lot of other defenders, she started her career as an attacking player. During high school as an attacking mid and forward in New York, her school’s team only lost TWO GAMES in all THREE YEARS that she played. (She missed one year of high school soccer because of Youth National Team commitments.)
- She played her college soccer at the University of North Carolina, and Jill Ellis wasn’t kidding when she said Dunn is versatile. After her freshman and junior seasons at UNC, she was named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year. Then after her senior season, she was named the ACC Offensive Player of the Year.
- After college, she played one season for Chelsea FC in England. She scored within twelve minutes of her first appearance for the Blues.
Emily Sonnett is 25 years old and plays her club soccer for the Portland Thorns. For the USA, she plays right back or center back. Look for her or Kelley O’Hara to start at right back in France.
- She grew up in Georgia and played her college soccer at the Crystal Dunn’s UNC ACC rival: the University of Virginia.
- She’s another forward-turned-defender. In high school at Fellowship Christian School, she scored 113 (!) goals during high school.
- She was drafted by the Portland Thorns out of college, but spent one year on loan to Sydney FC in Australia.
- During the 2019 SheBelieves Cup, Sonnett chose to honor fellow UVA alum Tina Fey on the back of her jersey. Sonnett, who describes herself as a “sit down comedian” in her Instagram bio, describes Fey: “She’s incredible and her style of comedy is amazing. She’s really involved with women’s rights and her approach to those issues is probably what I really enjoy about her.”
- Her NASA 12 Elite club team in Georgia won the 2013 U19 US Youth Soccer National Championship. Like many U19 players, she returned to her club team after her freshman year of college to compete in one last USYS Championship summer.
Tierna Davidson is the youngest player on the US World Cup Roster at 20 years old. She plays her club soccer for the Chicago Red Stars.
- Davidson went to the same Bay Area high school as Abby Dahlkemper (Sacred Heart Prep).
- She’s a left-footed center-back. She will provide depth for the USA back line behind the starting center backs: Sauerbrunn and Dahlkemper.
- She played her youth club soccer for De Anza Force in the ECNL, and her team won the 2013 ECNL National Championship. (Confused about ENCL vs US Youth Soccer? You’re not alone. Click here)
- Her grandmother was the captain of Ireland’s field hockey team in the 1950’s.
- She stayed in the Bay Area for college, playing three years for Stanford before leaving early for the NWSL draft. She was drafted #1 by the Chicago Red Stars in 2019.
Abby Dahlkemper was raised in the Bay Area of California (Menlo Park) and is 26 years old. She plays her club soccer for the North Carolina Courage along with Crystal Dunn.
- After high school, she played her college soccer at UCLA.
- She played her youth club soccer for the Bay Area club, MVLA.
- At UCLA, she fell in love with the beach. She would pursue professional surfing if she wasn’t a pro soccer player.
- An avid flosser, she is sure to floss after every meal.
- She and Latif Blessing would probably get along, since she has organized fundraisers to provide shoes for kids in Africa.
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