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Thursday 8 December 2016

Stephanie Roche: My shock at the end of US dream as club terminates contract

Republic of Ireland soccer player Stephanie Roche
Republic of Ireland soccer player Stephanie Roche
Footballer Stephanie Roche

Stephanie Roche’s American dream in Houston has come to an end after her club let her go after just three months.

Houston Dash released the Irish star from her contract to clear space on their squad for two new international signings.

“It was a big shock, I was really enjoying it here,” Stephanie said last night.

“The manager liked me and told me I was one of the best finishers at the club. I didn’t see it coming at all. I am shocked and disappointed.

“I was only with the Irish girls when they were here a couple of weeks ago and I was telling them how much I was enjoying it,” she said.

Roche (25) found fame for her remarkable goal for Peamount United against Wexford Youths in a National League game in 2013 which became a viral hit online.

Steph the dash roche.jpg  

The striker came second behind James Rodriguez’s golden World Cup strike in the Puskas Award for Fifa Goal of the Year last year.

She announced in February that she had signed a two-year contract with Houston Dash to play in the US National Women Soccer League (NWSL).

“I got an email the night before last saying I had a meeting with the coach and the General Manager and that set alarm bells off.

“I was basically told that ‘at the minute we have injuries at the back and the club needs more defenders’.

CUT

“They can only sign so many international players and because I am one of the higher earners, they cut me.”

Not only does the heartbreaking news affect Stephanie’s professional life, she now faces the prospect of having to search for accommodation in Houston while also figuring out if her future lies in America or in Ireland.

“The woman I am staying with is giving me a few weeks until I get this sorted. In this league, although I had signed a year contract, they can break that whenever they want.

“I wished the club all the best and have no hard feelings towards Houston Dash, it’s the rules of the league and they are very cut-throat. It’s extremely tough to take.

“I am now trying to figure out where I am going and what to do. There are a couple of clubs showing a bit of interest.

“If I don’t get something, I will take it step by step.”

Stephanie revealed that her first thought when she received the news yesterday was of her family, who have booked flights to go to Texas in August.

“The first thing I thought of was I hope they can change the flights,” she said.

Commenting on the decision to cut the Irish international, Houston Dash coach Randy Waldrum said he hopes he won’t “grow to regret it”.

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