Former defender Sandoval signs professional contract in Iceland

SAN ANTONIO – Former UTSA soccer star defender Deja Sandoval has signed a professional contract to play in Iceland Division One for Fjarðabyggð/Höttur/Leiknir (FHL), the team has announced.

Sandoval, a native of Alburquerque, N.M., graduated in December with her degree in Biology and a Business Administration minor before moving on to the professional ranks. The club is based out of Reyðarfjörður, Iceland, and coached by Bjorgvin Karl Gunnarsson. FHL will begin its season in late February with League Cup play.

"I am very excited to have the opportunity to play professionally for the first time in such a beautiful country," Sandoval said. "I'm beyond grateful for all the support I've had from coaches, teammates, friends and family who have helped me grow into the person and player I am today. I can't wait to experience all that Iceland has to offer. Thank you to UTSA & Birds Up!"

Playing five years for UTSA, Sandoval set the program record for most games played with 87 contests after playing every single game of her extensive career from 2019-23. She made 84 starts and racked up 7,822 minutes as a defender for the Roadrunners. Tying for eighth in the UTSA records for career goals, Sandoval netted 10 goals off 27 on-target shots, including a pair of game-winners. She also registered six assists and was a huge part of UTSA’s transformation over the past five years. With her as a steady fixture on the back line, the Roadrunners allowed only 13 goals this season for a record-setting 0.72 goals-allowed-average in the program’s inaugural season as a member of the American Athletic Conference. The previous record (0.79) was held by the 2021 defense. During the 2022 season, Sandoval helped lead UTSA to reach new heights with a 12-6-4 record for the highest win percentage in school history, a conference tournament championship and the first trip to the NCAA tournament since 2010.

We are so excited and proud of Deja! She has worked extremely hard for the last five years to develop into an incredible player and even better person,” sixth-year UTSA head coach Derek Pittman said. “Deja is a very talented defender and is committed to developing into the best professional player possible. This is a huge opportunity in Iceland, and she is ready to grab it with both hands. It’s not only a big achievement for her but a massive credit to how far our UTSA Soccer program has come in the last six years. This just shows our current and future players that they can accomplish their dreams of becoming a professional player from here. We are really happy for Deja and can’t wait to watch all that she achieves in Iceland.

Back in San Antonio, the Roadrunners have gotten things started for the future with the 2024 spring practices. UTSA released the spring schedule earlier this week and is waist-deep in preparation for the squad’s first spring exhibition against Incarnate Word, at 2 p.m. on March 3 at the Park West Athletics Complex.

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