Roche with Republic of Ireland in 2015
|Full name||Stephanie Roche|
|Date of birth||13 June 1989|
|Place of birth||Dublin, Ireland|
|Height||1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)|
|2008–||Republic of Ireland||50||(7)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 00:22, 19 November 2018 (UTC)|
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 9 August 2015
Stephanie Roche (born 13 June 1989) is an Irish footballer who plays as a striker for the Italian club C.F. Florentia and the Republic of Ireland women's national football team. Her October 2013 goal in the Women's National League (WNL) for Peamount United was the runner-up for the 2014 FIFA Puskás Award for the best goal of the year.
Roche began playing football with the boys on the streets of her native Shankill. After a brief spell with Valeview FC was curtailed by rules against mixed-gender football, Roche turned out for Cabinteely Girls. She progressed to playing for Stella Maris, where she struck up a forward partnership with Áine O'Gorman in the club's Under-18 team.
In June 2007, Roche moved to Dundalk City and reportedly enjoyed a "dream debut", scoring twice in a 5–2 win over Benfica. After moving on to Raheny United, Roche went on trial with English FA WSL club Doncaster Rovers Belles in February 2011, playing in a 4–0 friendly win over Blackburn Rovers.
In the inaugural 2011–12 Women's National League season, Roche won the Golden Boot by scoring 26 goals for champions Peamount United. She also scored the winner in the Cup final to secure a double. In August 2011, Roche played for Peamount United in the 2011–12 UEFA Women's Champions League.
Roche scored an acclaimed goal for Peamount against Wexford Youths in October 2013 which went viral on YouTube and brought her international attention. It was her first goal of the WNL season and was uploaded to the internet by team manager Eileen Gleeson as the matches are not televised. Roche was glad it was captured for posterity: "It's just good for us now to get that on camera, it gives the Women's National League a bit of publicity as well as girls' football in Ireland, and I'm happy to be a part of that as well." Later that year she was shortlisted for the 2014 FIFA Puskás Award, for the best goal of the year. She was the only female player to be nominated. Following an initial public vote, Roche's goal was nominated as one of three finalists, alongside James Rodriguez and Robin van Persie, who had both scored their nominated goals at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. She is the sixth female player to be nominated for the award, and the first to rank among the finalists. At the 2014 FIFA Ballon d'Or awards ceremony on 12 January 2015, Roche finished in second place for the FIFA Puskas Award with 33% of the vote.
After the extensive coverage her goal received, Roche said: "It was a great time for me, the coverage I got was a little bit crazy, I didn't expect to get half as much as I did, but I was really happy."
In June 2014, Roche signed for newly promoted Division 1 Féminine team ASPTT Albi. She failed to settle in France, scoring once in ten appearances before quitting the club amidst the FIFA Puskas Award publicity. On 18 February 2015 Roche signed with the Houston Dash. Dash coach Randy Waldrum hailed Roche as: "possibly the best goalscorer to come out of Ireland since Olivia O'Toole". Roche was waived by the Houston Dash on 20 May 2015.
Roche signed a two-year deal for FA WSL club Sunderland A.F.C. Ladies on 17 June 2015. She sustained a broken leg while on international duty in September 2017 and was released from her Sunderland contract in Summer 2018. She agreed a transfer to Italian Serie A club C.F. Florentia in November 2018, but has since been released from that as well.
Roche represented the Republic of Ireland at the youth level, saying: "I just missed out in the final trials for Ireland under 15s and I was really heartbroken. But then I made the team at under 17s." In August 2005, she scored the winning goal during her Ireland under-19 debut resulting in a 3–2 win over Finland at Richmond Park. In three seasons at the under-19 level, Roche remained a regular pick and was the team's top–goalscorer.
Roche's senior international debut came in a 3–0 UEFA Women's Euro 2009 qualifying play–off defeat to Iceland in October 2008. She replaced Stef Curtis for the last five minutes of the match at Laugardalsvöllur. In September 2009, Roche scored her first senior goal—a late winner in the 2–1 World Cup qualifying win over Kazakhstan at Turners Cross. In the following month's return fixture, Roche made her first start for the Irish senior team. She scored again, the equaliser in another 2–1 win for Ireland. Roche scored her third goal for Ireland during a home friendly defeat to France in March 2010. Despite her equaliser, a controversial penalty from Sonia Bompastor and a late winner from Marie-Laure Delie gave the French victory.
National coach Susan Ronan dropped Roche from the squad for a friendly with Austria in June 2013 and the subsequent 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup qualifiers. This left her disappointed but keen to win back her place: "I was dropped against Austria and wasn't told why or what the story was. I've played for the last few years so it hurt me to be let go while not knowing what was happening so I'd love to get back in again." After Roche re-discovered her goal-scoring form at the club level, Ronan re-called her in October 2013.
- Scores and results list Ireland's goal tally first.
|1||24 September 2009||Turners Cross, Cork||Kazakhstan||2–1||2011 FIFA Women's World Cup Qual.||1|
|2||29 October 2009||Zhetysu Stadium, Taldykorgan||Kazakhstan||2–1||2011 FIFA Women's World Cup Qual.||1|
|3||25 February 2010||Richmond Park, Dublin||France||1–2||Friendly||1|
|4||10 March 2014||Tasos Markou, Paralimni||Switzerland||2–1||2014 Cyprus Cup||1|
|5||5 April 2014||Tallaght Stadium, Dublin||Germany||2–3||2015 FIFA Women's World Cup Qual.||1|
|6||13 September 2014||NTC Senec, Senec||Slovakia||1–0||2015 FIFA Women's World Cup Qual.||1|
|7||11 March 2015||Valbruna, Rovinj||Costa Rica||2–1||2015 Istria Cup||1|
|8||7 April 2016||Stadion pod Malim brdom, Petrovac||Montenegro||5–0||2017 UEFA Women's Championship Qual.||1|
|9||3 June 2016||Tehtaan kenttä, Valkeakoski||Finland||1–4||2017 UEFA Women's Championship Qual.||1|
|12||7 June 2016||Tallaght Stadium, Dublin||Montenegro||9–0||2017 UEFA Women's Championship Qual.||3|
At the time of her famous goal in October 2013, Roche had been in a relationship with Bray Wanderers defender Dean Zambra for almost seven years. She was an intern on the Football Association of Ireland's (FAI) Futsal project.
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