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Interview: Stephanie Roche

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If there’s one Irish woman who we can all agree is ace, that’s soccer player Stephanie Roche. This humble and talented young woman came to the world’s attention when a goal she scored while playing for Peamount United was shortlisted for a Puskás Award for FIFA’s Best Goal. After making it to the final three, Stephanie came in second place at the ceremony earlier this year. She was the first female to make the final three.

Stephanie recently signed as a striker with Houston Dash, and moved to the US city in the past few days. Last week FBD Hotels and Resorts announced Stephanie as their first ambassador. Stephanie will help promote the company’s Irish and Spanish properties for the next 12 months. We caught up her before she left for Texas.

For more information see fbdhotels.com

How has your life changed since the Puskas ceremony?

My life has changed quite a bit publically, but privately I’m still the same person. I’ve had to do a lot television interviews, I’ve been in the public eye quite a lot so it has been different for me. I’ve tried to just take it all in my stride as best as I can.

Do you feel a lot of pressure now that you’re the international golden girl of soccer?
I wouldn’t say pressure, I’ve always tried to represent myself the best way I can. I want to improve as a footballer and be the best I can be but I don’t see all this as pressure, if anything it’s motivation!

Do you like being a role model? Or can it be stressful?
I like it. If I can inspire any young girl or boy to take up football then I’m definitely doing something good. I always try to make time for them too. I’ve had a lot of kids write me letter etc and have got back to them as best I can. I want to try be a good role model for them.

Considering you’re a bit of an expert,  if a grown woman in her mid- to late-twenties wanted to start playing soccer, where should she start? And what should she have in her kitbag?
If she’s never played before, try get involved with friends/workmates who play five-a-sides in the evening for fun. That way she won’t be scared off by competitive team mates in a proper team environment! Although five-a-sides can be very competitive! Or get involved with a local team and see how you like it. My essentials are, boots and shin guards. Anything else can be borrowed if forgotten! But I would have hair clips, bottle of water, towel and shower gel etc oh and a snack for after too! Just fruit or nuts etc, it will help you replenish! You don’t really need a lot of stuff.

You’re heading to Texas in a matter of days and have played with a team in France. Will you miss Ireland? How important is home to you?
I will definitely miss home, being away and coming back is great though. A break away can be just what’s needed sometimes. I’ll miss my family and friends but I’ll only be away for six months (the season runs April-September). I’ll also get to do what I love while I’m away so I will be concentrating on that. Plus I’ll have my boyfriend to keep me company at least!

For special offers check out www.fbdhotels.com.

Follow Jeanne Sutton on Twitter @jeannedesutun

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