Sport Soccer

Saturday 21 October 2017

Albi manager confirms that Stephanie Roche is leaving France for a "richer club"

Stephanie Roche
Stephanie Roche

FIFA Puskas Award contender Stephanie Roche is to leave her French club after a six-month spell.

The 25-year-old Republic of Ireland women's international joined southern side ASPTT Albi, newly promoted to the French top flight, last summer.

However as a non-French speaker Roche recently admitted it was proving tough to settle in her adopted home town.

According to the website of local newspaper Le Tarn Libre, Roche cited being "homesick and the difficulties in adapting due to the language barrier" as cause for her decision to leave.

She left behind family and boyfriend Dean Zambra, a Bray Wanderers midfielder, to strike out on her own in the professional French league.

Roche will learn on Monday at the FIFA Ballon d'Or ceremony in Zurich whether she lands the prize for the world's best goal in the qualifying period which ran from October 3 2013 to September 26 2014.

Her spectacular turn and volley for Peamount United against Wexford Youths Women on October 13, 2013 was witnessed by just 95 fans but has since been seen by over six million YouTube viewers. World Cup goals from James Rodriguez and Robin van Persie present the competition for Roche.

Albi team manager David Welferinger told the French newspaper: "This departure is linked to what is happening to her at the moment.

"She has been in high demand in recent weeks.

"I understand her decision even if it's sad."

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