LONDON (Reuters) - Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are not on the list, but Stephanie Roche, a rather lesser known 25-year-old Irishwoman, made it.
She said she was “surprised but delighted” to be the only woman among the 10 players -- including Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Diego Costa and Robin van Persie -- to be nominated for FIFA’s Puskas Award for the best goal of the 2013-14 season.
Roche was playing for Peamount United against Wexford Youths last October when she controlled a cross with the inside of her right foot, flicked it over her head with her left and volleyed into the top corner of the net from 20 metres out.
The ball did not touch the ground from the time she received it until it flew past a startled goalkeeper.
“It was a big surprise but it is a great boost, not only for myself, but for women’s soccer and particularly the (Irish) Women’s National League,” Roche, who now plays for ASPTT Albi in the French First Division, told Irish national broadcaster RTE on Thursday.
Online voting has now begun for the best of the 10 goals, which will be whittled down to three on Dec. 1 before the winner is announced on Jan. 12.
Other contenders include three goals from this year’s World Cup finals, James Rodriguez’s volley for Colombia against Uruguay, Tim Cahill’s strike for Australia against the Netherlands and Van Persie’s diving header for the Dutch against Spain.
Reporting by Steve Tongue, editing by Ed Osmond