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Crystal Dunn will not return to Thorns: ‘My time in Portland has come to an end’

Crystal Dunn will not return to the Portland Thorns, she announced on Nov. 9. (Soobum Im/Getty Images)

Crystal Dunn will not return to the Portland Thorns, she announced Thursday via Instagram.

A 2019 World Cup champion with the U.S. women’s national team and a three-time NWSL champion, the 31-year-old enters the offseason as an unrestricted free agent. After three seasons in Portland, she will seek a new team for her “next chapter,” she wrote.

Dunn started her NWSL career with the Washington Spirit after being selected with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 draft. After three seasons and an MVP award in Washington, she departed to join Chelsea in the Women’s Super League, but she returned to the NWSL in 2018 with the North Carolina Courage. She helped North Carolina to the 2018 and 2019 NWSL titles, and a three-team trade brought Dunn to Portland in October 2020.

While she missed much of the 2022 season for the Thorns due to pregnancy, she returned in September less than four months after giving birth to son Marcel to give the team a boost in its run to an NWSL championship.

Portland entered the 2023 NWSL playoffs as the No. 2 seed, but the Thorns lost in the semifinal round to No. 6 seed Gotham FC.

“My time in Portland has come to an end and I am extremely grateful for all the memories,” she wrote. “This decision has weighed heavily on me for a while but I am ready for a new journey.”

Dunn praised her teammates and Portland fans in the lengthy Instagram caption announcing her departure. She also made an oblique reference to the abuse scandal that rocked the franchise.

“Reflecting on the past three years, it is clear to me that trust and accountability are the basis for a strong and resilient culture,” she wrote. “My time in Portland has held moments of great success and absolutely heartbreaking experiences. These moments have not only shaped some of the most challenging years of my career, but also me.

“I am walking away, knowing the woman, the mom, the teammate, and the friend I will forever be as I look ahead to my next chapter. I will always hold this city close to my heart. Thank you, for allowing me to meet the most resilient, authentic version of myself.”