PLAINVIEW, N.Y. – (Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018) – The Long Island Rough Riders, exclusive PDL affiliate of New York City FC, today are pleased to announce Stephen Roche as men’s head coach for the upcoming 2018 season.
Roche, who played for the club from 2013-17, replaces Flavio Ferri, who is leaving the organization to explore other opportunities outside of the PDL.
“I’m delighted. I’ve been a fan of the club, I’ve been a player at the club, and to now be head coach is very exciting,” Roche, 31, said. “I’m excited for this unique opportunity to transition from being a leader on the field to being a leader on the sideline.”
A native of Dublin, Ireland, Roche is also an assistant men’s coach at Hofstra University, joining the Pride in June 2016. In his first season, he helped guide Hofstra to the Colonial Athletic Association regular-season title. Roche has been integral in the university’s recruiting efforts internationally and domestically, particularly on Long Island. That knowledge and experience will be crucial as he helps shape the Rough Riders men’s team.
The graduate of the Dublin Institute of Technology owns a national diploma and an advanced national diploma from the United Soccer Coaches and is advancing his coaching certifications with the United States Soccer Federation. Roche owned and operated Flickz Sports Camps in Dublin from 2004-10.
Roche, a midfielder, played professionally with the University College Dublin Football Club in the League of Ireland premier division from Jan. 2009 through Nov. 2010. He joined FC New York (United Soccer League) in 2011. Roche played for Lansdowne Bhoys of the Cosmopolitan Soccer League from 2012-16, and currently plays for the CSL’s Greek Americans, a partner club of the Rough Riders’ collaborative efforts to form a pathway to pro.
“We are excited to have Stephen on board as men’s head coach,” Rough Riders general manager Pedro Suarez said. “Stephen brings a wealth of knowledge, experience, and leadership as a player, particularly from his time as a member of this franchise.”
Long Island went 10-2-5 last season, finishing runner-up in the PDL Eastern Conference Northeast Division. The Rough Riders defeated Mid-Atlantic Division winners New York Red Bulls Under-23 in a conference play-in game. Long Island then beat the Myrtle Beach Mutiny, winners of the South Division, in the conference semifinals before losing on penalty kicks to eventual PDL champion Charlotte in the Eastern Conference Final.
“We have some very experienced players we’re bringing back and combining that with young talent from around the country will give us a good mix this season,” Roche said. “Having played with the Rough Riders, I know what’s expected of this team. Our goal is to exceed last year’s performance and reach the National final.”
BY: Michael LoRé