SANDY, Utah (Wednesday, January 3, 2018) – Utah Royals FC signed international goal scorer and MF Gunnhildur “Gunny” Jonsdottir to the squad, General Manager Craig Waibel and Head Coach Laura Harvey announced today.
Jonsdottir's success with Iceland is expected to contribute to the seasoned roster of fellow Women’s World Cup participants on Utah Royals FC. As one of the top goalscorers in Iceland WNT history, and with 48 caps under her belt, Jonsdottir provides an energy and instinct for goal that complements the playing style of Royals FC boss Harvey.
“Gunny is a player that I think will transition well into the NWSL, as she has played at international levels and numerous leagues around Europe. Her experience will be great for the group,” said Harvey, who arrives in Utah full-time later this week in advance of the January 18 NWSL College Draft. “Her enthusiasm on the field is infectious. I'm glad we could complete this deal as I think it is another huge statement for our club.”
Jonsdottir – now 29 years old – helped Iceland, one of the top 20 teams in the world, qualify for the 2013 Women's UEFA Cup Quarterfinals, and bagged crucial goals against Slovenia and Scotland in Women's UEFA 2016.
“I am so excited and grateful for the opportunity to play for Utah Royals FC this year. I have heard such great things about Laura, and I know I will learn a lot from her,” said Jonsdottir, currently awaiting a pending P-1 Visa and International Transfer Certificate. “In my conversations with Laura and the other Utah staff, I can already tell there is a great support system, and level of commitment from everyone involved.
At the club level, Jonsdottir grew up playing for the same club in Iceland, playing her first top-flight game at the age of 14 years old en route to 22 goals in 66 games. In 2010, she became the Captain for Stjarnan FC, winning five trophies in two years and being named the best player in the league in 2011.
In 2013, Jonsdottir moved to Norway to face a new challenge – one delayed by a summer ACL tear. Over five years in Norway with four clubs, Jonsdottir endured the crucible of fighting relegation and ultimately captained Valerenga to the Norwegian final – the first in club history – and was named to the Toppserien “Best XI.” She arrives in Utah with more than 200 club games played and nearly 50 caps for the Iceland National Team.
“I also think the quality of the returning FCKC girls, along with the additions made to the roster throughout this offseason, should comprise a very good team and a competitive environment where I can learn and grow and take my game to the next level,” continued Jonsdottir, known as ‘Gunny’ to teammates and fans throughout Scandinavia. “My goal is to come in and give everything I can to this club and my teammates, and hopefully help us win a championship. I have followed the NWSL and I know it is a difficult league to win, but I am an Icelandic and we always have big dreams and know that anything is possible. I believe this will be something special and I can't wait to get started.”
Like recent Utah Royal FC commits Kelly O'Hara and Becky Sauerbrunn, Jonsdottir holds a national championship, winning the 2012 Iceland Women's Cup while starting for Stjarnan FC. She also was a member of the Norway Toppserien league's 2017 runner-up, Valerenga FC, reaching nearly 2,000 minutes, 21 games and five career goals in a single season.
Player: Gunnhildur “Gunny” Jonsdottir
Date of Birth: September 28, 1988
Home country: Iceland
Previous Club: Valerenga FC (Norway)
How acquired: International signing on Jan. 3, 2018
Season tickets for the 2018 Utah Royals FC season are now on sale via www.RSL.com/NWSLor 844.Real.Tix, while the full 2018 NWSL slate is expected to be revealed in the coming weeks.