Orlando, Florida (January 24, 2023) – The Orlando Pride, Erin McLeod and Gunny Jónsdóttir have announced the pair’s departure from the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), as the duo will return to Jónsdóttir’s home country of Iceland.
McLeod and Jónsdóttir, who have played for the Pride since 2020 and 2021 respectively, were married on January 2 and are stepping away from the NWSL to begin the next chapter of their lives overseas.
“Both Gani and Erin were incredibly important members of, not only the Pride, but the NWSL as a whole. Their impact, skills and professionalism will be missed in our locker room and in our community, but the next step in their lives It’s an exciting one that we’re also celebrating,” Orlando Pride head coach Seb Hines said. “On behalf of the entire organisation, we thank both Erin and Gani for everything they have given to the club and wish them all the best in their next chapter together.”
“This decision was one of the hardest of my career but as I’ve gotten older, my dreams and priorities have shifted. Now it’s time to start the next chapter of my life with my wife,” said McLeod. “I am inspired and excited by the work the club has done in the offseason, led by the Wilf family, which has made this decision even harder. I believe, now more than ever, there are great things ahead for the club. Identity , a new joy. To the fans and the Black Swans, thank you for showing up, no matter what. Without you all, the club would not exist.”
“Orlando has been my home for the past two years and it’s not easy to say goodbye,” said Jónsdóttir. “Thank you to the players, it was a privilege to have the opportunity to step on the field with you. Thank you to the staff, you were always so welcoming and willing to help in any way possible. And last but not least, Thank you. To the fans for their endless support, especially to the Black Swans who always showed up and supported us through thick and thin. I wish the Pride the best of luck this season and I will be cheering you on from afar.”
McLeod, 39, has made 28 appearances between the sticks for the Pride, with five total shutouts. Over the course of her NWSL career, which included stints with the Chicago Red Stars and Houston Dash the previous season, the goalkeeper has played 75 games with 13 clean sheets and 293 saves.
Internationally, the Edmonton native is a member of the Canadian women’s national team, most recently a gold medal winner at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. McLeod has made four World Cup and three Olympic rosters with Canada, also winning the 2012 bronze medal in London.
Jónsdóttir was acquired by the Pride via trade ahead of the 2021 season, immediately impacting the midfield. Over two seasons in Central Florida, the 34-year-old made 48 appearances with five goals and two assists. Jónsdóttir’s 100th NWSL appearance came in the team’s final match of the 2022 season, a tally that also included 52 matches with Utah Royals FC. In total, Jónsdóttir scored seven goals and added eight assists since joining the NWSL in 2018.
The midfielder has been a staple of the Iceland women’s national team since 2011, most recently competing in the 2022 UEFA Women’s Euro Championship and finishing as runner-up in the Shebelieves Cup earlier that same year.
During their tenures with the Pride, both McLeod and Jónsdóttir have been integral parts of Orlando, not only on the field, but also through their efforts in the community.
Most recently, Jónsdóttir served as the club’s National Community Impact Ambassador, representing and raising funds for Special Olympics Florida and supporting athletes at the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games. Last year, McLeod designed and released “The Futures Collection” — the first-ever apparel collaboration between a club and its player — to bring awareness to social equity and impact initiatives, while also raising money for Orlando-based nonprofit, The Zebra Coalition.