Fresh from retaining their Icelandic title, Valur Reykjavík are hoping to reach a second UEFA Women's Cup quarter-final led by Margrét Lára Vidarsdóttir.
With the second qualifying round of the UEFA Women's Cup starting next month, uefa.com will take a detailed look at each of the 16 clubs looking to progress to the quarter-finals and beyond. Today, we look at Icelandic champions Valur Reykjavík.
Valur Reykjavík is one of Iceland's oldest and most prestigious sporting clubs - it was founded in 1911 by YMCA leader Fridrik Fridriksson at Hlídarendi. An female football division did not arrive until the 1970s but after narrowly missing out on the Icelandic championship in 1977, Valur's women took the title the following year. Three more championships followed in a golden era for the club between 1984 and 1990 when they were also six-time Icelandic Cup winners. Overall, the club has won the cup on ten occasions and the league seven times.
Elísabet Gunnarsdóttir took over as Valur coach in 2003 with the goal of regaining the league title and making an impact in European competition. By the following summer, they had won a league and cup double giving them entry to the UEFA Women's Cup in 2005. After successfully negotiating the first round, they men German outfit 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam. However, they lost both ties and the same summer also saw them relinquish their domestic titles.
Second round hope
Valur qualified for this year's UEFA Women's Cup by regaining the Icelandic championship in 2006 and won all three of their first round qualifying ties against ADO Den Haag, Klaksvíkar Ítróttarfelag KÍ and FC Honka Espoo. With seven Icelandic internationals in the squad, the team will hope to challenge in a tough second qualifying round group against two-time winners 1. FFC Frankfurt, Everton LFC - who have several players at the FIFA Women’s World Cup - and hosts FCL Rapide Wezemaal of Belgium. There was a boost for Valur on 17 September. as they retained the Icelandic title on the final day having dropped just two points in 16 games and scored 88 goals, conceding just seven. Margrét Lára Vidarsdóttir, the star of Icelandic women's football, returned from a short spell in Germany to claim a record 38 league goals this season and finish top scorer for the fourth year in a row, though along with goalkeeper Gudbjörg Gunnarsdóttir she will go on trial at Swedish side Djurgårdens DFF when Valur exit Europe. Coach Elisabet Gunnarsdóttir has now renewed her contract for another two seasons with assistant Freyr Alexanderson retiring from playing to concentrate on his Valur role.