Crystal Dunn has followed fellow U.S. WNT attacker Alex Morgan to Europe with today’s news that the 2015 NWSL MVP has signed with Chelsea FC of the FA Women’s Super League.
Unlike Morgan, who joined French side Olympique Lyonnais on a six-month loan, Dunn has signed a deal with Chelsea that will keep her in England until 2018.
News also emerged today that 21-year-old Canadian defender/midfielder Ashley Lawrence is leaving West Virginia University early and bypassing the NWSL Draft to sign with Paris Saint-Germain through 2019.
Lawrence’s longtime teammate at both WVU and the Canadian National Team, Kadeisha Buchanan is also strongly rumored to be headed overseas, another potential defeat for the NWSL.
Dunn’s decision to try her luck in Europe further hobbles the 2016 NWSL runner-up Washington Spirit, who angered their fans with a November trade that sent U.S. WNT defender Ali Krieger to Orlando, bringing back only a higher player allocation position.
These recent moves highlight the failure of The United States Soccer Federation (USSF) and the US WNT players to reach agreement on a contract.
U.S. National Team members who play in the NWSL are paid by the Federation while the Canadian Association pays at least part of the salaries of its players in the NWSL.
Dunn had this to say on her move in a statement released by her new team.
‘It’s a big personal challenge for me but I am ready to take this next step in my career.” “Playing for Chelsea is a unique opportunity for me to take my game to another level and I think the moment is right.”
The timing may indeed be right for Dunn, who was one of the best U.S. players in a disappointing 2016 Olympic performance, but this defection heightens the urgency for U.S. Soccer and the U.S. National Team Players to come to an agreement before the NWSL loses more of its top players and attractions.