Thursday 29 September 2016

Stephanie Roche on Houston release: "My first thought was my family, they have flights booked to come over and see me"

Ger Keville and Declan Whooley

Published 20/05/2015 | 21:18

Stephanie Roche moved to the Houston Dash just three months ago.
Stephanie Roche moved to the Houston Dash just three months ago.

Stephanie Roche has admitted that she was left "shocked" by Houston Dash's decision to release her just three months after joining the American National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) side.

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The Republic of Ireland international's American dream has come to an end after the Dash confirmed they have signed Australian defender Ellie Brush as well as Camila Martins Pereira, a versatile Brazilian.

In order to clear space on the roster for the players, they have decided to end her time at the club just three months into her one-year contract it was confirmed tonight.

The FIFA Puskas Goal of the Year runner-up arrived Stateside just three months ago after making global headlines for her incredible goal for Peamount United.

The Dubliner admits she is still coming to terms with the news.

“I got an email the night before last saying I had a meeting with the coach and the General Manager and that set alarm bells off," she told Independent.ie.

“I was basically told that at the minute we have injuries at the back and the club needs more defenders. They can only sign so many international players and because I am one of the higher earners, they cut me.

“It was a big shock, I was really enjoying it here. The manager liked me and told me I was one of the best finishers at the club. I didn’t see it coming at all. I am shocked and disappointed.

“I was only with the Irish girls when they were over here a couple of weeks ago and I was telling them how much I was enjoying it.”

Houston Dash coach Randy Waldrum lamented the decision to let the Irish striker leave, but said his hands were tied in order to bring in the Brazilian international.

“I really would have liked to have given her the time to be with us a season because I think she was getting better and better and adapting," he said.

"Unfortunately, as I told her, as bad as we have been defensively, we had to make some moves. Two internationals, and the international spots being so critical, we had to let somebody go."

Stephanie Roche buried a stoppage-time winner to earn a 1-0 victory over Slovakia
Stephanie Roche buried a stoppage-time winner to earn a 1-0 victory over Slovakia

 “I really would have liked to have given her the time to be with us a season because I think she was getting better and better and adapting," Waldrum said.

"Unfortunately, as I told her, as bad as we have been defensively, we had to make some moves. Two internationals, and the international spots being so critical, we had to let somebody go.”

Not only does the heart-breaking news affect Stephanie’s professional life, she now faces the prospect of having to search for accommodation in Houston while also figuring out if her future lies in America or back home in Ireland.

“The woman I am staying with is giving me a few weeks until I get this sorted. In this league, although I had signed a year contract, they can break that whenever they want," she continued.

“I wished the club all the best and have no hard feelings towards Houston Dash, it’s the rules of the league and they are very cut throat. It’s extremely tough to take.

“I am now trying to figure out where I am going and what to do. There are a couple of clubs showing a bit of interest. If I don’t get something, I will take it step by step. “

Stephanie revealed that her first thought when she received the news this morning was of her family, who have booked flights to go to Texas in August.

Stephanie Roche with Houston Dash team-mates
Stephanie Roche with Houston Dash team-mates
Stephanie Roche
Stephanie Roche before the new consulate opening in Austin, Texas
Stephanie Roche before the St Patrick's Day reception at The White House
Stephanie Roche and boyfriend Dean Zambra
FIFA Goal of the Year award runner-up Stephanie Roche with Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo and runner-up Lionel Messi. Photo: INPHO
Stephanie Roche
Stephanie Roche

“My family booked flights for August. The first thing I thought of was I hope they can change the flights.”

Fans have offered their support on Twitter to Roche in light of her release.

"Sad hearing @StephanieRoche9 won't be with Houston. Best of luck to you!," said one tweeter.

"Real sorry it didn't work out in Houston. Wish you the best; you will find a place (SWE, FRA, GER... options)," added another.

Read Stephanie Roche's exclusive column tomorrow only on Independent.ie

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