ORLANDO, Fla. (Jan. 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 be returning to Jónsdóttir’s home country of Iceland.
McLeod and Jónsdóttir, who have played for the Pride since 2020 and 2021, respectively, were married on Jan. 2 and are stepping away from the NWSL to begin the next chapter of their lives overseas.
“Both Gunny and Erin have been incredibly important members of, not only the Pride, but of the NWSL as a whole. Their impact, skill and professionalism will be missed both within our locker room and in our community, but this next step of their lives is an exciting one that we are also celebrating,” Orlando Pride Head Coach Seb Hines said. “On behalf of the entire organization, we thank both Erin and Gunny for everything they have given to the club and wish them all the best in this next chapter together.”
"This decision was one of the hardest of my career but as I have gotten older, my dreams and priorities have shifted. Now it is time to begin the next chapter of my life with my wife," McLeod said. "I am inspired and excited by the work this 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 this club. A new identity, a new Pride. To the fans and the Black Swans, thank you for showing up, no matter what. Without all of you, this club wouldn't exist."
"Orlando has been my home for the past two years and it is not easy saying goodbye," Jónsdóttir said. "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 the 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 previous time with the Chicago Red Stars and Houston Dash, the goalkeeper has totaled 75 games played with 13 clean sheets and 293 saves.
Internationally, the Edmonton native is a member of the Canada 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, instantly making an impact on 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 number 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.
Throughout their tenures with the Pride, both McLeod and Jónsdóttir have been integral parts of Orlando, not only on the field but through their efforts in the community, as well.
Most recently, Jónsdóttir served as the Club’s Nationwide Community Impact Ambassador, representing and raising money 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 clothing 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.