The winner of this year’s Puskás Award will be announced at FIFA’s glittery Ballon d’Or gala on 12 January and, unless you’ve been living in a cave, you’ll know that our very own Stephanie Roche is up against Robin Van Persie and James Rodriguez in the final shake-up. Whose goal will get the nod as the best of the year? We know who our money’s on – and here’s why.
- Because the goal really is that good. Worth saying this at the very outset – for technique and timing, you simply won’t see a better finish than Stephanie Roche’s three-touch thunderbolt. Even Paul McGrath said so. And Laurent Blanc. And Ian Wright. And David Luiz.
- Because she’s sooo nice. We had the opportunity to do some work with Steph recently and she couldn’t have been more friendly or helpful, not only with us but with the throngs of passers-by who stopped her for a pic and an autograph. Good things happen to nice people.
- Because Youtube. Hands-down, no contest. Stephanie’s wonder strike has now racked up more views than the two lads put together – bet they don’t like that – and rightly so. The people have voted with their eyeballs!
- Because the weather. Sure, it’s easy to bask in a balmy Brazilian summer but have Robin Van Persie or James Rodriguez ever stood on the edge of a penalty area on a bitter October afternoon in west Dublin, waiting for the ball to drop out of the sky? They have not.
- Because the women. It’s no secret that women’s football doesn’t get the recognition it deserves, even if companies like Continental Tyres are helping to change that. With one thwack of her left foot, Steph Roche has given the women’s game a huge shot in the arm and that can only be a good thing.
- Because FIFA probably wouldn’t like it. Football’s governing body likes the big boys. Big players, big teams, big countries, big sponsors, big money. How DARE a goal for Peamount against Wexford Youths upstage the World Cup? Ha. Vote for Steph.
- Because boys V girls. Stephanie grew up in Dublin, playing street football with boys of her own age – and a bit older – and inevitably coming out on top. How fitting it would be if she rolled back the years and got the better of the lads again.
- Because you’ll never beat the Irish. Not only is Stephanie Irish – a Shankill girl born and bred – but you can be pretty sure most of the people who voted for her are Irish too. And as everyone knows, taking on the might of Ireland in an internet poll is futility itself.
- Because I-was-there. 79,000 people were in the Maracanã when Van Persie scored; 52,000 were at the Arena Fonte Nova when Rodriguez scored, but only the proverbial two men and a dog can say “I was there” when Stephanie scored. Makes it all the more magical, no?
- Because what a story. Little-known Irish women’s footballer trumps two of the biggest big-time strikers on the planet. You couldn’t make it up. From the sheer luck of having a camera rolling in the first place to internet sensation and global acclaim, it’s pure Hollywood.
10 solid reasons, we think you’ll agree. And remember, there’s still time to vote for Stephanie Roche to win this year’s Puskás Award so go here and do just that!
Cullen Communications handles PR for Continental Tyres, official partner of women’s football in Ireland and title sponsor of the Women’s National League