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Dublin: 9 °C Wednesday 20 November, 2019

'I didn't get a fair crack but I now have to pick up the pieces and prove myself again'

Stephanie Roche was clearly emotional as she spoke about a difficult week.

Roche's American Dream hasn't gone according to plan.
Roche's American Dream hasn't gone according to plan.
Image: Keeper Notes/Twitter

STEPHANIE ROCHE BELIEVES she wasn’t given a fair opportunity to prove herself at Houston Dash after being released by the club just three months into her contract.

The Irish international moved to America in February but played just two games for the American National Women’s Soccer League side before being told she was surplus to requirements.

Speaking to Matt Cooper on Today FM, the 25-year-old admitted the last few days ‘have been difficult’ as she comes to terms with finding herself unemployed thousands of miles from home.

“It all happened so abruptly,” she said on The Last Word. ”I was away with the Irish team last week and before I went I spoke to the manager [Randy Waldrum] about what I needed to do to get more game time.

“He told me just to keep doing what I was doing as he wanted time to figure out where to put me. He said I was technically one of the best in the squad and I was happy with that. I came back from international duty buzzing.”

During the time Roche was with the Irish squad for two summer friendlies against USA and Haiti, Houston didn’t play a league game but on her return was told she would be one of two players leaving the club immediately.

“I had a great session and then the next day was called into the office,” she continued. “I didn’t get a fair crack as every other player had started and I didn’t and another girl who was recently let go had played a lot more than me.

“That’s the way it goes though, it’s cut throat. I have to pick up the pieces now and get over it and see what I’m going to do next.”

Stephanie Roche arrives with boyfriend Dean Sambra Roche with boyfriend Dean Zambra at the Fifa Ballon d'Or awards in January Source: Andreas Meier/INPHO

Roche, who rose to prominence after finishing runner-up to James Rodriguez in the Fifa Puskas Award last year, made her debut for the Dash on 11 April in a 2-0 win over Washington Spirit.

Another brief cameo appearance from the bench was the extent of her game time in Texas but the former Peamount United striker believes she is good enough to merit a place in any starting line-up in the league.

Encouragingly, Roche has received contact from ‘several other clubs’ in the league but there has been no concrete interest of yet.

“I’m on a waiver now for the rest of the season and then I’m a free transfer. There has been a little bit of interest from clubs but they have games this weekend so they’ll be focusing on that.

“I hope to hear more after that and then I’ll know for sure if I get an opportunity with some one.

“That’s the way it goes in women’s football. There’s not a lot of money involved and clubs have to cut people to make way for others and I was on the receiving end. I was doing really well and didn’t expect it.”

Having been dropped from the national team by Sue Ronan before scoring that spectacular goal for Peamount in the Women’s National League, Roche has experienced the highs and lows football throws up.

Now, however, she faced with a situation nobody could have envisaged at this juncture of a blossoming career.

“As I’ve said I want to prove myself as a footballer because most people will know me from that goal. I thought I was proving myself but I”m still going to play football as it’s something I love to do.”

“Dean [Zambra], my boyfriend, has kept me going, thank god. He was playing for a local team who are managed by Brendan Keys, an Irishman who has been over here for 27 years.

“He’s been very good to both of us and we’re lucky we’ve made friends since we came over. We’re doing okay at the minute but we have to figure out what were going to do playing wise and hopefully it all works out.

“If not then we’ll have to look at something else.”

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Ryan Bailey

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