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2019 Royals Player Profiles: Gunnhildur Jónsdóttir

“Gunny” went from last year’s iron woman into the Royals’ utility tool in 2019.

Utah Royals v Seattle Reign Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images

2018 Profile

Back in 2018, Gunnhildur “Gunny” Jonsdottir played every available minute for the Utah Royals FC. This year, she still played every game, but came on as a substitute for a portion of her appearances. Some of her starts even came playing on the back line rather than her normal midfield role, making her something of a jack of all trades.

Going into 2019, Gunny had hopes of representing Iceland at the World Cup, however, that was not to be as they were eliminated in the UEFA qualifiers by a narrow margin. Knowing that she wouldn’t be joining other URFC players on the world’s stage, she could have been one of the key players with a team that would be missing so many regular starters, but her stats were actually pretty average. On defense, Gunny blocked 6 shots, 52 clearances, and 24 interceptions; she had a 66% success rate in tackles, but her scores for individual duels were much lower.

She attempted 824 passes, only completing 69.4% of them. She made 44 crosses into the box with 11 successfully finding another Royal, and had 22 key passes leading to a shot on goal; but only 4 assists.

Gunny started 2019 by getting called up for Iceland to participate in the Algarve Cup which took place during February and March. Over the summer of 2019, she earned more caps for Iceland, and scored one goal participating in the Euro 2021 Qualifications. They are 2nd in their group, undefeated after 3 games; Iceland and Gunny are well placed to advance when qualifiers resume in April.

Gunnhildur has become a fan favorite for the Utah Royals, starting the Viking Clap tradition, and often meeting with fans to sign autographs. Her contract was picked up for 2020, so what should we expect?

It will be interesting to see if Laura Harvey will give her more games on the defensive line, or if that was just a temporary fill-in due to injuries at the end of 2019. At age 31, she may see more time coming off the bench as an impact substitute instead of starting. Just what role she will take will depend on if the Royals sign any midfielders during the off-season. I would expect her to play around 20 games in 2020 either starting or subbing on.