Shankhill native makes top three shortlist for FIFA goal of the year
SHANKHILL’S Stephanie Roche is flying high having been named in the top three shortlist for the 2014 Puskas Award for goal of the year alongside Manchester United’s Robin Van Persie and James Rodriguez of Real Madrid. Stephanie is the first woman to be shortlisted for the award and speaking from France where she now plays she said she was over the moon. ‘I still don’t think it’s really hit me,’ she said.
SHANKHILL’S Stephanie Roche is on top of the world at the moment after making the top three in the shortlist for this year’s Ferenc Puskas Goal of the Year Award.
A native of Shanganagh Cliffs in Shankhill, Stephanie faces stiff competition for the award from Manchester United star Robin Van Persie and Real Madrid’s James Rodriguez.
However, Stephanie won’t be put off by those big names, having already beaten off competition from the likes of Diego Costa and Zlatan Ibrahimovic to take her place in the top three at a special awards ceremony in Zurich next month.
Stephanie’s wonder strike for Peamount United against Wexford Youths in Ferrycarrig Park has gotten massive praise worldwide and she is on cloud nine having found out that she made the top three shortlist.
‘I still don’t think it’s really hit me,’ she said, speaking from France where she currently plays professionally for ASPTT Albi. ‘I haven’t had a chance to see my family or my friends and talk to them about it, so I’m really looking forward to getting home on December 23 and having a little bit of a celebration at Christmas.’
Stephanie is the first woman to make the top three shortlist for FIFA goal of the year, but insists that her gender can’t have played to much of a part in the decision making.
‘I’m very happy with my goal and I think I’m in the top three on merit as opposed to some token gesture,’ she said.
In relation to her competition, Stephanie has no fear. ‘ The amount of support I’ve been getting from back home and here in France has pushed me to believe I might just have a chance of winning it,’ she said. ‘Obviously the other two goals are world class and both were scored in the World Cup, but last year the winning goal was scored in an international friendly, so anything can happen.’
Roche is currently adjusting to life as a professional in France having left Peamount United and Ireland to play professionally.
‘I’m still kind of adjusting,’ she said of the move. ‘I’m just really happy to be able to focus on football full time. The standard here is most definitely a step ahead of the Irish league. I would have played against some world class players with the national team, but here I have to be on top of my game every time I play.’
Stephanie has sent a massive thank you to everyone back home who voted for her and she is now looking forward to returning home and to the big FIFA Awards ceremony in Zurich on January 12. ‘I can’t wait,’ she said. ‘It’s something to really look forward to.’
Stephanie Roche is the first woman to make it on to the top three shortlist for FIFA Goal of the Year.