by Matt Vines, Assistant Sports Information Director
Restocking the midfield has been a focus for Northwestern State soccer this offseason, and the Lady Demons added a Denmark native with professional experience, co-head soccer coach Jess Jobe announced Thursday.
Sara Roche played one season of professional soccer with a Denmark club while maintaining her amateurism, and Jobe expects Roche to bring a professional mentality to the midfield.
“Sara is a year removed from high school, and she played the game at the highest level in Denmark this past year,” Jobe said. “She’s bringing a different viewpoint not just because she’s an international player, but because she brings a different focus because she’s been immersed in a professional environment.”
The midfielder has played a combined 13 years of club soccer in Denmark, eight years with Tarup Paarup Idrætsforening and five years with Næsby Boldklub.
Jobe said he found Roche through an international recruiting service, and he was intrigued by her offensive creativity in the midfield.
“Sara is a creative and technical player that’s going to add to our midfielder group,” Jobe said. “She’s versatile and dangerous going forward if we can get her on the ball to make plays and find combinations.
“That’s what she liked to do most, find teammates in space that link our play together. She likes to get the ball, keep it moving and find a player’s feet.”
Roche is the eighth signee this offseason, joining four other midfielders, a defender, a forward and a goalkeeper.
These eight players join a program that had one of its best seasons in program history, advancing to the Southland Conference Tournament championship as a No. 2 seed with 13 wins (most since 2005).
The Odense, Denmark, native would be the Lady Demons’ only student-athlete not from North America on the 2020 squad, but NSU has a history of signing players from Europe.
Roche is NSU’s fifth European member since 2015, with four hailing from Denmark, Finland, Norway or Sweden.
Junior Jalen Donaldson is NSU’s only other non-American player, hailing from British Columbia in Canada.