HETTON, ENGLAND - MAY 21: Crystal Dunn of Chelsea Ladies takes a selfie with fans after the WSL 1 match between Sunderland AFC Ladies and Chelsea Ladies FC at Hetton Centre on May 21, 2017 in Hetton, England.(The FA via Getty Images)

‘My time at Chelsea was so special’ – United States ace Dunn reflects fondly on spell in FAWSL

United States defender Crystal Dunn has admitted that her one-year spell playing in England with Chelsea is a time that she looks back on very fondly.

The 28-year-old New York-born full-back starred for The Blues during their 2017 FA Women’s Super League 1 Spring Series-winning campaign while she also made a number of appearances for Emma Hayes’ side in the first winter campaign in 2017/2018, a season which ended in another league title for the South West Londoners.

Dunn is a member of the United States squad for this month’s SheBelieves Cup and FAWSL Full-Time had the opportunity to catch up with the player ahead of the tournament. Dunn spoke about her time with Chelsea, a club who she still holds close to her heart to this day.

“My time at Chelsea was so special” said Dunn. “It challenged me in so many ways that I wouldn’t have got if I had stayed in the NWSL.

“I was really close with Emma Hayes, she really took me in and the team were very welcoming.

“It is a necessity that you put yourself in environments that are uncomfortable at times but ultimately, you are going to grow.

“When I came back to the NWSL, I was really prepared for all aspects of the game. I learnt about technical and tactical work in and around the Chelsea environment. I could bring back all of what I learnt into my new environment.

“For me, I have always been an athletic player but it was about being more technical, being more tactical and being a well-rounded player and playing overseas has helped me become that.”

Dunn joined Chelsea around the time of her 24th birthday and four years on, she is just one of eight players in the current United States squad with more than 100 senior caps to her name. Despite still being a relatively young age, Dunn has gained huge experience from playing at home and abroad and she is now something of a mentor to the younger players in the national team.

Commenting about the advice which she gives to the younger players, Dunn said “What I tell younger players is to really embrace the journey.

“Regardless of whether you are feeling good and feeling confident, your career is going to be long enough where you have ups and downs.

“The worst thing that you can do is think that you are always going to be in the best form and always have great training sessions but at the end of the day, there will always be some off-days, some off-games. It is how you bounce back.

“It is about staying committed to really preparing and being at your best. What keeps you on this team is being competitive, being accountable and investing in yourself.”

Dunn will be hoping to pull on the United States jersey for a 108th time on Friday when The Stars and Stripes take on Canada in their opening SheBelieves Cup match.

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