Stephanie Roche joins Sunderland Ladies: Black Cats secure Fifa Puskas Award runner-up on two-year deal

Roche's goal in 2014 was voted the second best goal in the world last season

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The Independent Online

Sunderland AFC Ladies have announced the signing of Fifa Puskás Award runner-up Stephanie Roche on a two-year contract, the club have confirmed.

Republic of Ireland international Roche shot to fame when her wonder-goal for Peamount United finished second to James Rodriguez’s World Cup stunner for Colombia in the battle for the goal of the year, otherwise known as the Fifa Puskás Award.

26-year-old Roche admitted she is looking forward to the challenge of playing in the Women’s Super League and expressed her happiness at joining the Black Cats.

Stephanie-Roche1.jpg
Stephanie Roche in action for Ireland last month

“It’s great to be at Sunderland Ladies and I can’t wait to get started,” Roche said on www.safc.com.

“I know there is a high standard in WSL 1 and it’s something I’m looking forward to being a part of. The team have done really well this season and hopefully I can play my part too.”

Head coach, Carlton Fairweather, added: “Stephanie is going to be a very good addition to the side. The fact she was nominated for the Fifa Puskás Award at the 2014 Ballon d’Or ceremony shows her ability, but it isn’t just about that and she will bring added value to the side.

“From her point of view it is a great opportunity to establish herself in the FAWSL 1 and then push on from there, so her main objective will be to cement her place in the first-team and continue to represent Republic of Ireland at international level.”

“We have had a good start to the season and as we enter the next phase we want to push on and improve.”

Roche heads to the North-east having left United States club Houston Dash, as well as stints with Irish sides Stella Maris, Dundalk City, Raheny United and Peamount. Roche also played in France for ASPTT Albi.

Because you know you want to see it again, here's Roche's goal for Peamount United:

 

The question is, can she teach the men's side a thing or two about finishing? We suggest yes, although Jermain Defoe's effort against Newcastle last season can challenge Roche's effort:

 

Perhaps manager Dick Advocaat may want to consider a double-partnership in attack this season.

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