This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
It's rare for a freshman to start for the Davis high school soccer team. To be a leading scorer for the Darts, well that occurrence is downright infrequent.
It didn't take long for Davis soccer coach Soulyvanh Phongsavath to recognize freshman Ireland Dunn's talents. Her impeccable footwork impressed from the moment he first saw her.
"Ireland is special because she's such a good dribbler," Phongsavath said. "Even if someone makes a good tackle, somehow she always seems to come up with the ball."
Ireland Dunn plays for the Utah Avalanche during the summer, but she didn't know what to expect entering her freshman year despite some impressive credentials.
What she did know was that she finally would get to play on the same field with older sister, senior Chelsea.
"Chelsea was a big help, especially early in the season," Ireland Dunn said. "She told me to be outgoing, to trust my instincts and to always believe that I belonged."
Belong she does.
Ireland Dunn is tied for the team lead in goals with five and has been an integral cog on a Davis team that opened the season with nine consecutive victories before a 3-1 loss to Northridge on Sept. 13.
Chelsea, a senior captain for the Darts, admits her sister is better than her and is glad to have her sibling's talents contributing to the team.
"I feel like we're on two different levels, and she's really, really good," Chelsea said. "She wants to go to a big college and play elite soccer."
Sibling rivalry? Not even close, said Phongsavath.
"Chelsea is a quality player and her play stands on its own," he said. "I don't think she's ever seen Ireland as a threat, but more as someone that can help the team immediately."
Ireland Dunn didn't quite know what to expect from her first season as a Dart, but she knew what she wanted out of the season.
"It doesn't matter how many goals I get, I want to get to the finals and win a state title," she said.
Davis freshman Ireland Dunn is tied for the team lead with five goals.
Senior and older sister Chelsea Dunn has scored three goals from her attacking forward position.
The Dunn sisters have helped the Darts to a 9-1 record entering this week.