An Irish woman has rocked the football world by surpassing male superstars Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in being named on the three-man – no, three-person – shortlist for goal of the year 2014.
Stephanie Roche has been named on the three-player shortlist for the prestigious FIFA Puskas Goal of the Year Award.
In the male-dominated sport, it is remarkable to have a female player honoured in such a way. That is, of course until you see the goal Roche scored.
The Dublin star scored a spectacular volley while playing for Peamount United against Wexford Youth earlier in the year. She controlled a long ball into her on the edge of the box, before flicking it up over her head and smashing an unstoppable volley into the top corner.
It really was something special, and has every chance of winning the top prize.
Roche is up against two heavyweights of the game in the final three, with Manchester United’s Robin Van Persie and Real Madrid’s James Rodriguez the other two players on the final shortlist.
She spoke to RTÉ about her stunning goal, and her pride at raising the profile of the women’s game: “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.”
Had Roche shown the same talent in another sport such as golf or tennis, then she would surely have been a household name by now. However, her wonder-goal has helped her sign her first professional football contract, with French side ASPTT Albi. The goal has been viewed nearly a million times on Youtube and has also featured on television broadcasts in Ireland and across much of Europe.
VOTE HERE (closes 12 January 2015)
The winner will of FIFA’s Goal of the Year awards will be named by FIFA on 12 January 2015.