Portland Thorns acquire USWNT star Crystal Dunn


The Portland Thorns have acquired World Cup winner and former NWSL MVP Crystal Dunn in a series of moves that also involved the North Carolina Courage and OL Reign, the club announced on Thursday.

The Thorns acquired Dunn from OL Reign for $200,000 in allocation money, an international roster spot and a 2022 first-round pick.

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That trade came after OL Reign acquired Dunn from two-time defending champion North Carolina in exchange for goalkeeper Casey Murphy and $140,000 in allocation money.

According to North Carolina and Portland, Dunn sought a move to Portland to be closer to her husband, Pierre Soubrier, who is the head athletic trainer for the Thorns.

“Crystal’s agent was adamant that it was her priority to join her husband at their home in Portland — there was simply no viable alternative for Crystal other than a move to Portland,” Reign CEO Bill Predmore said in a statement. “In the absence of Portland and North Carolina being able to agree to a deal directly, we decided to play a role in facilitating what we viewed as an inevitable outcome. Through that process we acquired assets that we are confident will help us significantly strengthen our squad in 2021 and beyond.”

Dunn, 28, is one of the most versatile players in women’s soccer, starting for the U.S. as an outside back en route to the team winning the 2019 World Cup but excelling as an attacking midfielder and forward in the NWSL. After missing out on the U.S. World Cup roster in 2015, she went on to win NWSL MVP honors that season with the Washington Spirit.

After playing overseas for Chelsea in 2017, she returned to the NWSL and earned all-league honors with North Carolina in 2018 and 2019. In all, she scored 15 goals and had nine assists in 35 appearances for the Courage, who won titles in both of her seasons with the team.

In Portland, Dunn is reunited with coach Mark Parsons, who coached her during her MVP campaign with Washington.

This marks the second time in less than a year that Portland has acquired a U.S. women’s national team star because of that player’s desire to relocate to the city. Portland also acquired Becky Sauerbrunn from Utah in March after the veteran defender indicated her interest in playing in the city in which she resides in the offseason.

The Thorns were on the other end of such a deal in 2015, when they traded forward Alex Morgan to then-expansion Orlando. That trade eventually led to midfielder Lindsey Horan joining the Thorns. Dunn and Horan are now the only former MVPs who are teammates.

Dunn is the second national team player to leave North Carolina in recent weeks, after midfielder Sam Mewis signed with Manchester City in the Women’s Super League — although, unlike in Dunn’s case, the Courage retain Mewis’ domestic rights.

OL Reign originally signed Murphy, 24, this past spring after the former Rutgers standout began her professional career playing in France’s top division.

“Casey is a young, super talented goalkeeper,” Courage head coach Paul Riley said in a statement. “She has a ton of fantastic qualities, and as she garners experience, we thoroughly expect her to be banging on the USWNT door. She comes to a team with a consistent, dynamic lineup, and that will help her settle and grow into a bonafide exceptional professional goalkeeper.”