Women in Sport: "I Was Devastated" - Stephanie Roche On Houston Dash And Her Footballing Future
She has put Irish women’s soccer on the international map over the last few months since that famous goal and despite a rollercoaster of a ride this past few weeks, Stephanie Roche is feeling optimistic about the future.
We caught up with her this week to chat about Houston Dash, her hopes for Ireland in this year’s Euro qualifiers and plans of moving to England.
The Dubliner has just teamed up with Sodexo Ireland as their Health and Wellbeing Ambassador and chatted to Her.ie at a breakfast in the Bord Bia offices to mark the three-year partnership.
“I got back [from America] on Monday morning,” she began. “I’d always planned to come back this week no matter what because the Women’s World Cup is on so there’s a break in the league.
“I’m even busier now, as I’m trying to figure out where I’m going,” she continued.
“I’m speaking to two teams in England this week so we’ll just have to wait and see what happens with them. The break with the World Cup gives me a little bit of time, so I’m lucky."
“I learned the hard way over in the USA that it’s very easy to be cut and things can happen quickly. It wasn’t very good for the player over there, it was more about the team.
“England is closer to home, so I’m looking there now,” she added, before explaining how she felt the day that she heard the news from Houston Dash.
“Obviously it’s not a nice thing to happen to any footballer, I was unlucky and being honest, there was a little bit of tears."
“I tried to get over it as fast as I could - it happens. It was hard though. I’d only spoken to the manager a week before and he had told me I was doing well and to keep it up and then to come back and face that was difficult.
“We’d trained the day before and I’d had a good session I was feeling optimistic about starting the game that weekend but then came in and had the meeting and as they said it was a positional thing, they had only three international spots they needed to change things up and that’s the way it goes."
“It was a shock but that’s the way things go it’s not the first time to have an upset in football.
“I think it was more of a shock that I didn’t see it coming at all. I was settling in… I thought I was doing well and proving myself so it was just difficult the way it all happened.
“I wanted to be there to prove myself – that’s why I stayed in America until now. But I realized it’s not about proving a point anymore but doing what’s best for me as a footballer."
“I don’t think I got a fair shot with Houston Dash so I was going to stay there [America], but with the whole international rules, teams don’t have a lot of spaces so it was difficult.
“I played a game and scored two goals in the game. It was the only game I played 90 minutes for and I did well… but I didn’t get to prove myself.
“Despite all that happened, I enjoyed it, it was a good experience and I think it will stand to me in the long run. It was a shock the way it ended but we’ll see what happens."
“I was lucky as I had good people around me telling me to keep going and I had other options.”
With the FIFA Women’s World Cup going on, Stephanie revealed that looking at the games has made her hungrier than ever before to play a major tournament with Ireland.
“You look at Germany winning games 10-0 and that’s not good for the game at all. It’s disappointing.
“Our qualification out of Europe is very difficult. Some of the best teams in the world are there."
“We’re looking ahead to the Euro qualifiers in September now. Hopefully, we can qualify.
“I want to play in a major tournament for Ireland. I love playing for Ireland: I love playing with the girls, it’s a great honour to represent your country and I’ve made some great friends with the team, so to get to a major tournament with them is pretty amazing.”
Looking ahead to her future after football she reflected: “There’s not a lot of money in women’s football. I kind of focused on my football growing up so I don’t have much to fall back on.
“I love coaching and though I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve done the last few months, I like coaching kids."
“It’s something that I'd like to do and give back to the sport and hopefully encourage girls to get involved.
“Football is the main focus now. It’s been the longest six months of my life, and I’ve enjoyed every second, but once I have my football sorted I can start to think of other things.
“It’s been a rollercoaster of a ride, it has all been a bit crazy since that happened at Houston. I was upset – no, I was devastated – the way it happened, for it all to be over so quick.
“But now? I’m lucky I can look ahead and focus on the future. We’ll see what happens.”