There’s an unfamiliar name on the FIFA’s Puskás Goal of the Year shortlist that you wouldn’t, in any other circumstance, be expected.
The name of Stephanie Roche is up against the likes of Dutch star, Robin van Persie and Colombia’s James Rodriguez whose respective wonder-goals were the talk of the FIFA World Cup in Brazil this year.
Roche, 25, scored her magical strike while playing for Irish women’s team Peamount United in October last year, in front of a poultry crowd of 92 and making up the top three candidates.
Fortunately, though, for her, her manager, Eileen Gleeson, filmed the match, thus capturing the ‘magic strike’ for all to see, on YouTube.
If she wins the vote, she will become the first female to earn Fifa’s Puskas award. The winner will be announced at the world governing body’s annual awards in Zurich on 12 January.
The Irish international, who plays soccer for the French professional team ASPTT Albi, said: “I’m happy my goal is getting recognition, it’s brilliant for me and brilliant for women’s football. It’s a great achievement and I hope people will continue to vote for me.”
Former Republic of Ireland great Paul McGrath and ex-England stars Rio Ferdinand, Gary Lineker and Matthew Le Tissier are among those who marvelled at Stephanie’s skill after viewing the grainy footage of the goal.
Football pundit and former Wales, Arsenal and West Ham striker, John Hartson, said of the goal: It is an unbelievable goal. Both feet, over her shoulder. It is totally instinctive. The technique and contact required to volley a ball that is coming over your head is amazing. It is the best of the three.”
“It’s only just sinking in that it was a good goal and it’s getting the attention,” Roche said.
The winner will be announced on 12 January 2015.