Ireland wonder goal girl Stephanie Roche to make it third time lucky with Sunderland Ladies

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Stephanie Roche believes she has made it third time lucky after joining a “great club” in Sunderland.

The Irish girl with the magical left boot signed a long-term contract with the Lady Black Cats on Wednesday.

I was lucky that straight after I left [America] a couple of clubs showed interest in me, especially a great club like Sunderland

Roche will wear the famous red and white stripes next month when the Women’s Super League season resumes against Notts County on Sunday, July 12.

To say it is an eagerly-awaited debut would be an understatement – Roche is a big name in the female game and head coach Carlton Fairweather and general manager Sonia Kulkarni have done a great piece of business to bring her to Wearside.

The 40-times-capped Republic of Ireland forward seemed to have the world at her feet last year when she was runner-up for the coveted FIFA Puskas Award for the best goal in the world.

Roche was only beaten by the wonder goal by James Rodriguez at the 2014 World Cup. But a move to the French top flight turned sour and she left ASPTT Albi after only six months.

The Dubliner then chased the American dream with Houston Dash but lost her place last month and returned to these islands.

But for all those disappointments, she has lost neither her ambition nor her belief.

“I was lucky that straight after I left a couple of clubs showed interest in me, especially a great club like Sunderland,” said the 26-year-old. “I’d thought about coming to England before but was sidetracked by America.

“I’m happy to be here now and thrilled to be joining a club like Sunderland and a good team.

“I want to be part of something special. Things have gone very well and I hope I can slot into that.

“I came here last Thursday to train with the girls and I suppose I had a little trial so Carlton could see me play.

“I spoke to Carlton and Sonia and they were happy and asked me to sign.

“I went home to speak to my family, but having been here, met the girls and seen the set up I knew I was going to sign.”