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Crystal Dunn ‘back playing soccer’ after giving birth to first child

(Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images)

Crystal Dunn appears to be back playing soccer, with the Portland Thorns and USWNT midfielder tweeting on Thursday that she is “truly blessed” to be back playing the game.

“I have missed the game so much,” she wrote.

Dunn has not played this season after announcing she was pregnant with her first child last November. In May, she welcomed a son, named Marcel Jean Soubrier, with husband Pierre Soubrier.

During her time away, Dunn was named Concacaf Women’s Player of the Year for her work as a member of the USWNT’s defense. A key piece of the U.S. Olympic team that won bronze in Tokyo, she was named to the tournament’s Best XI and helped the USWNT to its fourth SheBelieves title at the 2021 SheBelieves Cup.

For the Thorns last season, she helped the club to the 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup, 2021 International Champions Cup and the 2021 NWSL Shield. Through 12 matches, she scored one goal and completed 377 of 504 passes.

In her absence, Portland — which currently sits second in league standings with a 6-6-1 record — has been able to rely on its deep midfielder pool that includes players like Lindsey Horan and up-and-comer Olivia Moultrie. But that doesn’t mean Dunn hasn’t been missed both in Portland and on the USWNT.

As for the USWNT, Emily Fox has stepped into the role at left-back with confidence, with head coach Vlatko Andonovski saying last year that the pressure “doesn’t faze her at all.” However, Dunn was a key piece of the USWNT’s World Cup win in 2019 and has long earned her starting spot on the team, and if they want to make a run at next year’s World Cup, they arguably need her in order to do so.

Her return to soccer only spells good things for two teams that, while doing okay without her, will only get better with Dunn in the lineup.