Watford adjusting to life in Iceland amidst COVID-19 pandemic

Senior forward Miyah Watford plays for IBV in the Úrvalsdeild kvenna. (Photo by Richard Thompson/The News)

Josh Embry

Sports Editor


Since arriving in Iceland on Thursday, March 12, senior forward Miyah Watford has had to adjust not only to a new country but also to living in self-isolation amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The first case of COVID-19 appeared in Iceland on Feb. 28 and the number of confirmed cases has since risen to 737, resulting in two deaths as of Wednesday, March 25. 

Compared to the United States, Watford said Iceland has not had to make considerable changes to slow the spread of the virus yet.

“Iceland has not gone into as much of a panic as people are in America,” Watford said. “There really haven’t been any lockdowns or anything.”

However, Watford was told to self-quarantine on Sunday, March 22, after one of her teammates tested positive for the coronavirus. Watford said she “feels fine” and that she is allowed to leave her home to do certain things.

“We just stay in the house,” Watford said. “I’m allowed to leave and go running and I think [go to] the store [too].”

Watford, who plays for IBV in the Úrvalsdeild kvenna, Iceland’s highest-ranked professional women’s soccer league, said their season is postponed until further notice and that her team is not able to practice together either.

With her being both quarantined and not being allowed to practice with her team, Watford has found alternative ways to stay in shape and train while being under self-quarantine.

“Training is very different,” Watford said. “They’ve been sending us at-home workouts to do on our own without the ball. To keep up with my touches, I’ve been kicking the ball around my apartment whenever I am walking.”

Watford said when she does get the chance to run outside, Iceland’s weather has proven difficult at times.

“I try to go running whenever the weather is good to stay in shape, but it’s been difficult because it’s been raining here and the winds can get up to 40 mph,” Watford said.

To pass the time, Watford said she watches Netflix, plays games on her PlayStation and FaceTimes her friends who live in the United States.

Watford, who is originally from Indianapolis, Indiana, said she and her family have kept constant communication during her time in Iceland, and her parents are not overly concerned about her being over 3,000 miles away from home.

“I would say [my family is] handling it pretty well,” Watford said. “We’re a close family, but we aren’t homebodies and we don’t have to be together everyday. I talk to them almost every day just because of the circumstances with coronavirus.”

Despite all the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has placed on her daily life, one positive Watford took away from the virus was that school will be easier for her since Murray State has moved all classes online.

“Actually, I had to work out with my teachers on how to still graduate on time this coming May and play soccer overseas,” Watford said. “I figured out a way to work something out with my teachers and left. Now with school being all online, it made it easier for myself because now they have to work with everyone and not just me, so the coronavirus helped me in a way to cooperate with my circumstances.”