Stephanie Roche Claims Second Place in Ballon d’Or
ON January 12, Stephanie Roche joined some of the world’s most elite sports stars at the FIFA Ballon d’Or Awards in Zurich. Roche was up for the prestigious Puskás award following her stunning goal while playing for Peamount United against Wexford on October 13, 2013 – a goal that was only seen by 95 people in attendance but now has millions of YouTube views.
While Roche lost out to Colombia’s James Rodriguez, she did obtain over one million votes from the public following a huge campaign. This meant that she received 33 percent of the total vote beating the likes of Robin van Persie for second place. Roche was the only female to appear on the list of 10 nominations this year. This highlights the ongoing inequality between male and female sport stars. However, it is a huge achievement for the 25-year-old Dubliner and also for sportswomen all over Ireland. Roche’s nomination is not only the first female nomination for Ireland but is the first nomination for Ireland in years. It’s a huge honour for Irish sport, especially for the ladies. This nomination shows that soccer isn’t just a ‘man’s sport’ anymore and that female talent is no longer being overlooked.
I hope Roche’s Puskás nomination will dramatically increase support for Irish ladies soccer and sports in general. Roche told the FAI website that that being nominated was a “great boost, not only for myself, but for women’s football.” It’ll put Irish ladies soccer on the map as the whole world is talking about her glorious strike. The publicity following the Ballon d’Or Awards is sure to rally support for the Women’s National League here, which was founded in 2011. The winning team of the Women’s National League qualifies for the UEFA Women’s Champion’s League.
I strongly believe that Roche’s new-found fame will encourage many young girls to get involved in soccer in Ireland. She will be a great role model for children and teenagers alike. Roche has proved just how successful Irish sportswomen can be and has shown that there is a bright future ahead for ladies soccer in Ireland. Roche’s nomination is also sure to increase support hugely for Dublin team, Peamount United.
It’s already been a great start to 2015 for female sport stars in Ireland – let’s hope there is more to come!
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