Crystal Dunn knows the importance of the fan. As part of the U.S. Women’s National Team, Crystal, 28, has played in front of millions of screaming soccer supporters over the years, all rooting for her and Team USA. But, after a year when COVID-19 silenced stadiums and games were held in front of empty seats, fans are finally returning to sports, and Crystal couldn’t be happier. “We are back and stronger than ever before,” she told HollywoodLife while discussing her new partnership with Mastercard.
As one of Mastercard’s Global Brand Ambassadors, Crystal will curate Priceless Experiences for her fans. Featured on Priceless.com, these experiences will be held in-person, outdoors, at National Women Soccer League games (in accordance with local COVID guidelines.) Crystal, who plays for the Portland Thorns FC, tells HollywoodLife about how she’s “excited” for this chance to connect with her fans.
She also shared the one time that she was a fan and how a meeting with a particular actress/author/activist left her feeling starstruck. I went to the ESPY’s when I was kind of young like a sophomore,” she told HollywoodLife. “When I was there, I took a photo with Gabrielle Union, and to be honest with you, I was kind of literally fangirling. She is probably the last person I was like, “OH MY GOSH” about. And she has really shown great importance for women of color too, so it was super exciting to meet her.”
Crystal also told HL her feelings of opening up the new NWSL season with a 5-0 blowout over the Chicago Red Stars, her fitness and beauty routine, and how one encounter with a fan was “are more impactful in my life than lifting a trophy.”
HollywoodLife: Your partnership with Mastercard as a new Global Brand Ambassador will not only see you promote women’s soccer and fan engagement, but you’ll curate Priceless Experiences for your fans. What can these fans expect?
Crystal Dunn: I am so excited about my partnership with Mastercard, and I am so honored that Mastercard chose me as their newest Global Brand Ambassador. Mastercard is an immense brand with so much reach that they are truly making a difference with these Priceless experiences for my fans and fans of women’s soccer around the world. They are providing ways for fans to connect with one another, learn from each other and enjoy the game in the best way possible. You can check them out at Priceless.com to learn more about the fan experiences too!
Do you have a favorite ‘fan encounters’ moment when you were a fan? Like, did you meet a sports hero and it was the ‘best day ever’?
I went to the ESPY’s when I was kind of young, like a sophomore. When I was there, I took a photo with Gabrielle Union, and to be honest with you, I was kind of literally fangirling. She is probably the last person I was like, “OH MY GOSH” about. And she has really shown great importance for women of color, too, so it was super exciting to meet her.
On the flipside, you’ve given many fans their own ‘best day ever’ by meeting them. Do you have a memorable moment with a fan? And how does it feel to be a hero for many girls who want to pursue a career in sports?
When I played overseas for Chelsea in 2017, I was taking a flight back to England, and a young African American girl came up to me and asked, “Are you Crystal Dunn?” I said yes, and then she continued, “Well, I play soccer because of you. You have made a space for me, and I am so happy for it.” I was tearing up and cried as this girl was telling me this since it meant so much. People don’t understand that this moment and moments like these are more impactful in my life than lifting a trophy. Also, we still to this day keep in contact, and it was truly a life-changing moment.
We here at HL are always into looking good and feeling good. Can you share what your normal daily workout regimen is like? Can you also share any beauty tips?
I am a huge advocate of lotion and putting it on every day. You have to treat your skin well. We play in so much heat and so many elements that affect your skin, so it is really important that I take care of it. I put on sunscreen too.
For my workout regimen – I have added pillar prep to my daily routine, and it has been life-changing. You are preparing your body before training for like 20 to 30 minutes. It helps with everything you need before going on the field, and stretching is so important for my body and anyone’s body, for that matter. You need to take care of yourself before going out to the field.
We’re coming off a year where sports were postponed (Olympics, March Madness) or played in a bubble (NBA Playoffs, NFL). The 2021 NSWL season just kicked off – congrats on the 5-0 win, btw. How did this game feel, especially after a year of COVID?
This game was truly exciting, and I am still so happy about how we started off this season, since this normally doesn’t happen. We are back and stronger than ever before, and with sponsors like Mastercard, the NWSL is ready for this season in the biggest and best way possible. I am so honored that Mastercard chose me to represent them on the field as they are truly supporting diversity and inclusion for both players and fans worldwide with this sponsorship.
Speaking of postponement, we’ve talked with a few athletes who shared their frustration over the Olympics being pushed back. What was your reaction to this news?
I think that postponed was the keyword here. It was an extra year that I could reset. I always look at the glass half-full versus half-empty, so I looked at it as a good thing.
For more information on Crystal Dunn’s partnership with Mastercard and the Priceless Experiences, head to Priceless.com.