SHANKILL native and Republic of Ireland Women’s national team striker Stephanie Roche has been nominated for the Puskas Award for FIFA’s best goal of the year.
Her goal for Peamount United on October 20, 2013, in the Women’s National League against Wexford Youths Women’s AFC is one of ten shortlisted for the global award. It was a masterpiece, controlling a right wing cross at shin-height outside the box, flipping it over her marker’s head with her right foot before unleashing a perfect left-foot volley into the top corner.
At the time, the goal became an internet sensation attracting over 2.5million views on YouTube as it went viral around the world.
The winner of the FIFA Goal of the Year will be decided by a worldwide internet poll with votes being cast on fifa.com and francefootball.fr.
On December 1, the three goals with the most votes will be short-listed and a new poll will commence with the winner of the Puskás Award being revealed on the day of the FIFA Ballon d’Or on January 12, 2015. Voting will close during the show.
Roche, a former Cabinteely FC player, said she is honoured to have been chosen in the top ten.
“I am absolutely delighted to have been nominated for FIFA’s best goal of the year. Obviously, it was a big surprise but it is a great boost, not only for myself, but for women’s football and particularly the Women’s National League. It’s a great feeling to see myself on the list,” said Roche who now plays in France for ASPTT Albi and is the only woman on the list.”
She added: “I’ve scored a lot of goals, but honestly, I think this was probably the most beautiful I’ve ever scored. I heard rumours that I might be nominated for the Puskas but never thought I would be.”
She is up against some of the biggest names in football with Spain’s Diego Costa, Colombia’s James Rodriguez, the Netherlands’ Robin van Persie and Sweden’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
“People in Ireland and all round the world have been supporting me – and that’s just as well, I think, because I’ll need all the support I can get when I’m up against Robin van Persie and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.”
Fran Gavin, FAI Competitions Director, said: “At the time the goal helped raise the profile of women’s football in Ireland and this nomination for the FIFA Goal of the Year represents another major achievement for the Continental Tyres Women’s National League.”