The National Women's Soccer League's Houston Dash announced on Wednesday the signing of Irish forward Stephanie Roche.
Roche, 25, was named a runner-up for the 2014 FIFA Puskas Award, given annually to the best goal scored in FIFA-sanctioned competition. In a game against Wexford Youths, Roche, playing for Peamount United, had a three-touch goal that drew consideration alongside goals from the Netherlands' Robin van Persie and Colombia's James Rodriguez, the eventual award winner.
Roche, who most recently played with ASPTT Albi of the French Division 1 Feminine, has appeared in 35 matches for the Republic of Ireland since she made her senior debut in 2008. She also represented Ireland at the U-17 and U-19 levels.
"I am so excited about the signing of Stephanie, we are getting a player that has great technical ability, a superb left foot, and possibly the best goalscorer to come out of Ireland since Olivia O'Toole," Dash head coach Randy Waldrum said in a release. "Stephanie will bring a wealth of international experience to our team, and another great attacking option that is different from what we have already. All our Dash fans and fans of women’s soccer in general will be excited about this signing."
Roche began playing with Dublin's Stella Marris before moving to Dundalk City and Raheny United. She joined Peamount United for its inaugural Irish Women's National League season in 2011-12, seeing the club ultimately win the championship. In her three years with Peamount, Roche has scored a record 71 goals.
Peamount also played in the UEFA Women's Champions League in 2011-12 and 2012-13.
- Mike Fiammetta