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Crystal Dunn: ‘As a black woman I always felt I had to go above and beyond to be noticed’

Four years after watching her USA team-mates hoist the World Cup from a sports bar, the dynamic 26-year-old left back is out to win one for herself while busting stereotypes about black footballers

Crystal Dunn talks a lot about what she calls the above and beyond stuff. Whether it’s stepping in to play whatever position is required on the day, offering her trademark levity to the sometimes high-strung atmosphere of training with the world champions or challenging stereotypes about black players in a sport disproportionately played in America by upper-middle class white kids, the effervescent 26-year-old from Long Island is always willing to do the little extra with her infectious smile and can-do spirit.

A natural forward who’s spent a large chunk of her career unnerving defenders with her explosive acceleration, slashing cuts and preternatural sense of positioning, Dunn will be deployed as a left back when the United States open their World Cup title defense on Tuesday in the north-eastern French city of Reims against Thailand – and the debutant to the sport’s biggest stage is relishing the challenge ahead.

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