Sunderland AFC Ladies have completed the signing of Republic of Ireland international striker Stephanie Roche - who made global headlines after scoring one of the goals of the season.
The 26-year old, who was named as the runner up for the 2014 FIFA Puskas Award for goal of the year, arrives on Wearside after penning a deal with the Lady Black Cats.
“It’s great to be at Sunderland Ladies and I can’t wait to get started,” said Roche.
“I know there is a high standard in WSL 1 and it’s something I’m looking forward to being a part of.
“The team have done really well this season and hopefully I can play my part too,” added Roche, who was speaking to the club’s website.
Roche has made 40 appearances for her country, having made her debut for the Republic of Ireland in 2008. She won plaudits around the world for her wonder strike for Peamount United, coming second to Colombia’s James Rodriguez at the prestigious FIFA Ballon d’Or ceremony.
It’s great to be at Sunderland Ladies and I can’t wait to get startedStephanie Roche
Sunderland AFC Ladies head coach, Carlton Fairweather, added: “Stephanie is going to be a very good addition to the side.
“The fact she was nominated for the FIFA Puskás Award at the 2014 Ballon d’Or ceremony shows her ability, but it isn’t just about that and she will bring added value to the side.
“From her point of view it is a great opportunity to establish herself in the FAWSL 1 and then push on from there, so her main objective will be to cement her place in the first-team and continue to represent Republic of Ireland at international level.”
“We have had a good start to the season and as we enter the next phase we want to push on and improve.”
The forward began her career in her native Ireland with Stella Maris, before joining Dundalk City in 2007. Spells with Raheny United and Peamount United followed, before a stint in France with ASPTT Albi and more recently in the US with American club Houston Dash.
Roche could make her debut when the Lady Black Cats re-start their WSL 1 campaign after the mid-season break, with a home game against Notts County Ladies, at Eppleton Colliery Welfare Ground in Hetton, on Sunday, July 12 at 2pm.
Tickets are available, priced at £4 for adults and £2 for concessions, with entry free for supporters who have renewed season cards for the 2015-16 campaign at the Stadium of Light.