SANDY — Up to this point in the team-building process for their opening season, the Utah Royals have secured a group of Americans to help build their foundation.
On Thursday, the team added a player from overseas in Icelandic midfielder Gunnhildur “Gunny” Jonsdottir, a 29-year-old with 48 caps to her name. She comes to the Royals from Valerenga FC in Norway. In all, she has played for five club teams in Iceland and Norway.
She does have some soccer experience in the United States, having played collegiately at Pepperdine for a season.
“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,” said Royals head coach Laura Harvey in a press release announcing the transaction. “Her experience will be great for the group. 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, who played her first top-flight game as a 14-year-old, said, “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.”
Jonsdottir joins Becky Sauerbrunn, Kelley O’Hara and Taylor Lytle as players who have joined the Royals over the past few weeks. The National Women’s Soccer League draft is slated for Jan. 18, and the team’s full schedule for the 2018 season is also expected to be released in the coming weeks.