Diversity influences Icelandic player’s enrollment
Unnbjorg Omarsdottir made the journey from Reykjavik, Iceland to Milledgeville to play collegiate soccer as a freshman in 2015. Before she left Iceland, she said she knew she wanted to go to school and play in the peach state.
Omarsdottir, who prefers to go by Uno, decided she initially wanted to come to Georgia because of her sister, who attended the Savannah College of Art and Design. Another key factor was that the school needed to offer an exercise science major and have a soccer team that would be able to give her a scholarship.
A good friend from Iceland played soccer for GC and gave her the contact information for the coaching staff.
“I emailed the coach, and I got an Icelandic response and thought this is too good to be Google translate,” Omarsdottir said.
The assistant coach her freshman year was from Iceland. Not only did she play with a fellow Icelander, she was also coached by one.
“This made the transition from home much easier,” Omarsdottir said. “I felt less homesick because I was able to speak my native language with a fellow teammate and coach.”
Another factor that led her to GC was the beautiful campus and welcoming people.
“The GC athletic program is really blessed with nice faculty,” Omarsdottir said.
Before Omarsdottir came to GC, she was a member of the national team in Iceland and played as a goalkeeper.
“Anyone can play on the national team,” Omarsdottir said. “All they have to do is try out.”
After starting at GC, she made the switch from goalkeeper to forward in her preseason.
“I started playing as a forward and did really well, and I started scoring a lot of goals, and the coach told me I was going to become a forward,” Omarsdottir said.
Omarsdottir’s teammates quickly became her family and helped her adjust to life in Georgia.
“One of the first places my team took me was Chick-fil-A, and I thought it was very odd that people were getting fried chicken biscuits for breakfast, but now I love Chick-fil-A and especially sweet tea,” Omarsdottir said.
She said she also loves visiting neighborhoods to see houses and gardens.
“Everything looks like it is out of a magazine or a movie because of how perfect the yards look,” Omarsdottir explained.
Omarsdottir also enjoys sporting events such as football because of the size and how different it is than sports in Iceland.
“Soccer is even played differently in Iceland,” Omarsdottir said. “It is less physical because the players make the ball do more of the work and strategize more. But I am more fit because of the strength and conditioning training here in the states”.
After graduating, Omarsdottir said she either wants to play semi-pro for her team back in Iceland or pursue a masters in human performance at GC.
“I would also love to coach young kids or even all the way up to college-age in soccer or be a strength and conditioning coach,” Omarsdottir said.
Whichever track Omarsdottir chooses after college, it will involve her love of athletics.