One of the great careers in Icelandic football ended this month when women's international Ásthildur Helgadóttir called it a day at the age of 31 due to injury.
Capped an Icelandic record 69 times, including 34 as captain, she scored 23 goals for the national team and also had a cosmopolitan selection of clubs. She made her senior debut at 15 for local club Breidablik in 1991, and a year later was voted the top-flight's most promising player. In her time with the club she won nine league titles and four Icelandic Cups, and was voted player of the year in 1996, 2002 and 2003 as she changed position from midfield to striker.
Her skills also earned her a scholariship with Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, where she studied engineering and had a spell on the books of Carolina Courage in America's professional WUSA. Malmö FF took Helgadóttir to Sweden in 2003, and in 58 appearances she scored 46 times. "Managing to be one of the best players in Sweden, in my opinion the best league, was great but I would like to have won one title," she said.
However, that is not to be. "I have been considering my future and after talks with doctors I have concluded it is best to stop playing football," Helgadóttir said. "I have knee injuries which will not go away and I will not take the risk of continuing. Of course I am not too pleased leaving like this but I can be pleased about finishing my international career with wins against France and Serbia. All these injuries are part of the game and I do not consider myself to be unlucky, I would say I have been lucky with my career. Even though I will for sure drop in on some training sessions, I am determining not to play any more even though I always planned to end my career with my old club Breidablik."
Scouting for girls
Helgadóttir, though, is not saying goodbye to football. She will work for Malmö as a scout in Iceland and has earned a coaching badge. "I will do that job for Malmö with great joy, both for this great club and also it would be great to help promising Icelandic players," Helgadóttir said. She also will serve on the local council in her hometown Kopavogur.