South Carolina women’s soccer will enter this coming season without its second-leading point-getter from 2018.
Selma Sol Magnusdottir has left the program, a team spokesperson confirmed earlier this week.
“Obviously we would have loved for Selma to stay, but I think she always had aspirations of continuing to play with the full [Iceland national] team and to be a full-time professional,” Gamecock associate coach Jamie Smith told Spurs & Feathers Wednesday.
“All of that kind of happened faster than I think even she anticipated.”
Iceland hired a new national team coach in December who has had longer training camp sessions in recent months in an effort to restructure the program. The team already has friendlies and qualifying tournaments scheduled during South Carolina’s season.
Also, Sol Magnusdottir’s club team, Breiðablik, qualified for the Champions League, which begins play in September.
“Those going on during this coming fall was going to mean a lot of missed time here,” Smith said. “And then obviously her wanting to be with her teams there. … It just turned out to be the best thing for her right now would just be for her to stay there.
“So we supported that. Obviously we’d love to have her here, but this is what she wanted from the very beginning and it fast-tracked a little bit. We wish her the best.”
Sol Magnusdottir, a freshman on last year’s team, burst onto the scene with 15 points (four goals, seven assists) in 19 games played. Three were game-winning goals, including the decisive strike against rival Florida on Oct. 8.
Magnusdottir, who is 21, left South Carolina after the spring semester and plans to play professionally in her native Iceland.
The Gamecocks still have forwards Elexa Bahr, Ryan Gareis, Luciana Zullo, Riley Tanner and midfielder Lauren Chang on the roster.
“We’re excited. I think Ryan having a year under her belt rehabbing now, returning from [a left ACL] injury, I think we’re excited for her, and then [Zullo] being a rising junior and Elexa, obviously her senior year with hopes of continuing to play after school,” Smith said. “I think those guys are all excited about their opportunities this fall.
“And then we have some of the new younger kids who have come in that, are hope is, that they’ll contribute and push others. And there are some younger kids that were freshman that I think, just like a lot of freshman these days, it takes some time to start figuring things out. Kids like Riley Tanner, I think it was a good learning year for her and we’re excited to see how she does as a sophomore and some others in that class.
“I think opportunity is the best way to describe it. I think it’s there for all of them. We’ll see.”