CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee. — University of Tennessee Chattanooga Head Coach Gavin McKinney always on the lookout for talent. This fall, he announced the addition of three more players to the Mocs roster.
Broadcast Birna Johannsdottir new freshmen Clarissa Salinas and Caroline Ackern join her.
Johannsdottir, a linebacker, comes to the picturesque town from Mississippi. She missed last season and appeared in 12 of 16 matches in 2021, making nine starts. She landed seven shots for the Bulldogs, three of them on goal, and assisted four goals. Against Ole Miss, she made her first career assist, played the full 90 minutes three times and played a record 104 minutes against Mizzu.
Prior to joining Mississippi State, she attended high school in the Verslunarskoli Islands and played club football for Stjarnan Garber. The club has won the Icelandic championships in 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2016 and cup championships in 2012, 2014 and 2015. She was a member of the Icelandic under-17 team for three matches and played in two matches for the under-19 team. Johannsdottir competed in the UEFA Women’s Champions League from the bench. She was nominated for the Stjarnan Award as Most Promising Player in 2018 and has scored six goals with Stjarnan in the past two seasons.
Akern, a three-time Farragut Collegiate High School MVP, spent three seasons between the pipes on the Admirals varsity team and was voted the JV’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player in her first season.
In her senior season, she was nominated for Knox News Football Girl of the Year, District Defensive Player of the Year and State Player of the Year. She is a two-time All-Regional Qualifier and a three-time All-County. As a junior, she was named to the All-State Team of the Tennessee Sports Writers Association.
Ackern helped her team finish second in the county and region in 2020, and her club team, CRUSH, reached the 2016 state tournament final.
She is a member of the National Honors Society and the National Society of Technical Honors.
Salinas, a four-year-old Lakeview Centennial starter in Garland, Texas, made the county’s first team three times. In the 2018–19 season, she was nominated for District Football Rookie of the Year and named the School of Offensive Football MVP. She was named the 2021 County Utilities Player of the Year and received the 2019 EXOS ID Camp MVP award.
She helped her club team to the Champions League Division title within four years and was a two-time International Cup finalist. The Sting Dallas Royal were the 2018 and 2021 National Cup XVII champions in the South Central region, and were also nationally runners-up in the 2019 (U16) and 2021 (U18/19) National Cups.
Salinas competed in cross country for the Patriots. She was nominated for the 2019 District Rookie of the Year and qualified twice for the region. She has played in the varsity band, was the 2018 Regional Orchestra Flutist of the Year, and three-time flute section leader. She was a two-time soloist with the Marching Band and participated in the UIL State Solo and Ensemble in 2018–2019. Salinas is a member of the National Honors Society and leaders of America’s Future Career Community.
The trio joins Kaley Bosack, Zoe Miz, Hannah Opie, Claire Paglia and Caroline Richwalski, who were signed on the 2022 roster in November.
McKinney adds five to 2022 football roster