Soccer: Jackrabbit freshman Birna Bjornsdottir to compete for World Cup bid

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Following a strong opening collegiate season in Yellow and Blue, South Dakota State’s Birna Bjornsdottir is representing her home country this week for a chance to compete on one of soccer’s biggest stages.

Bjornsdottir is one of 18 individuals playing for Iceland on a squad that will attempt to qualify 2024 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup. The current SDSU freshman spent this past summer on Iceland’s U-19 squad that participated in the 2023 UEFA Women’s U-19 Championship in Belgium.

The Iceland U-19 team finished third in its round robin table, with Bjornsdottir playing in all three matches, at the UEFA Championship last year. As part of its showing, Iceland will face Austria — the other third place finisher at the 2023 UEFA U-19 Championship — in a playoff match to qualify as the fifth country from the UEFA confederation and advance to the 2024 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup.

Iceland defeated Sweden, 1-0, on Wednesday in a friendly in Iceland. Austria beat Italy’s U-20 women’s squad 2-0 in a friendly in Italy on Thursday. The sides’ playoff will take place Dec. 4 in Salou, Spain.

Bjornsdottir is a native of Kopavogur, Iceland. She played in 19 matches for the Jackrabbits in 2023 and made 12 starts. Bjornsdottir was a member of SDSU’s starting 11 in the final six matches of the season. Playing on the defensive side for the Jacks, Bjornsdottir had a goal and three assists for five points during her freshman campaign. She registered 13 shots with five on goal. Bjornsdottir played over 1,000 minutes on the pitch which included seven appearances of over 60 minutes.

The 2024 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup will be hosted by Colombia and begins on Aug. 31.