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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Katie Gallagher

Stephanie Roche says Dancing With The Stars is '10 times worse' than pre-season training

Football star Stephanie Roche said Dancing with the Stars rehearsals is ‘ten times worse’ than pre-season training as she prepares to make her debut on the RTE show.

The Dubliner is gearing up to swap her football boots for dancing shoes on the shiny floor this January.

And as rehearsals are currently in full swing, she revealed, “It’s been mental,” and admitted training for the dancefloor has been proving much tougher on her body than her usual practice sessions on the pitch.

Read more: Stephanie Roche confirmed as eighth celebrity to take part in Dancing With The Stars 2023

The newly married sports star, 33, told Irish Daily Mirror: “I had someone message me on social media saying ‘ah it is better than pre-season training’ and I replied ‘no it’s not, it’s ten times worse’ than that.

“It has been all go since two weeks ago we started training. So it has been all go and six hours in training or more everyday so it’s full on.

“It’s just totally different. To be fair, during the off season I always like to do something different. Because when I take a break from football I always like to also try to stay fit and do spinning classes and try to stay fit as best as I can with something different.

“But this is totally different to me and the first few days I had to learn how to walk as a dancer. And that sounds so simple. But my feet were cramping when I got home that night because I was pointing my toe for so long, so it is just completely different muscles being used.

“My calves, my toes, my feets, and obviously just the dancers are incredibly fit, and flexible, and I’ve been showing the stretches I've had to do on my social media, because playing football for as long as I have, my hips are very very tight.

“So I need to loosen them up before we go live on the show on January 8.”

Stephanie told how she is hopeful the experience will also help her loosen up in other ways too, admitting she can be shy behind the scenes.

Speaking from a Starbucks beside her rehearsal studio on a quick break, she said: “It’s just totally different. It is a new challenge and it is enjoyable as well.

“The biggest thing for me is letting loose. I am quite shy and within myself a lot so I think that is the difficult and awkward part so far, just kind of letting myself go.”

“It’s been absolutely hectic, and it has been great. Something completely different for me, so it should be very interesting,” she added.

And the sportstar, who revealed she has turned down the opportunity in years before, admitted she can breathe a sigh of relief now that the news is out that she is taking part in the 2023 RTE series, saying: “I hadn’t told anybody, not even my family up until like the week before it was announced. So I was just glad to be able to tell people.”

The striker is no stranger to TV, having taken part in RTE’s Ultimate Hell Week last year.

She said: “I like taking on things that are different. I did Hell Week last year which was a whole new challenge, and this is probably even more scary than Hell Week. I'm not going to lie.”

Meanwhile, the news of her new gig has come at a particularly busy time of change in her career, having also announced her move to Shamrock Rovers for the 2023 campaign last week.

The Republic of Ireland international said: “The last couple of weeks have been crazy because obviously I have been announced as Dancing with the Stars and announced to sign up to Rovers the next day and it is huge because look it is a huge team, and I think there has been a lot of things said, but the most important thing for me is standards. And going to Rovers, I will be training more.

“And it’s a World Cup year so I think it is important for players to put themselves in the best shape possible coming into the world cup.

“And for me it was a no-brainer going to a club that were offering something like that.”

Asked if she feels the move has put a target on her back, she added:

“A little bit, I think myself and Aine [..] have been called an OAP about ten times on social media which is a little bit insulting, I'm only 33 (laughs).”

But she said her focus is fully on getting match and dance fit in the New Year, as she will have the job of juggling both tasks when pre-season training kicks off in January.

“It ties in just right, I spoke to the manager about it before I signed, and everyone knew what was happening, and i’ve already spoken to Dancing with the Stars and they know that football is my priority and everything will be worked around that.

And in fairness with my coaching at the moment, they have been very helpful in working my rehearsal schedule around my coaching, so it will be the same thing once we start pre season.

“Anyone who knows me, knows that football will be a priority, but also I’ll be putting a lot into the dancing because it is a commitment I have signed up for.

“And it is about trying to get the balance right so I can give my all to both of them.”

*Stephanie was speaking to launch Circle K’s Christmas fundraising initiative in aid of the Jack and Jill Children’s Foundation.

From Monday 19th December to Saturday 24th December inclusive, €1 from every car wash purchased at Circle K will be automatically donated to The Jack and Jill Children’s Foundation.

Circle K aims to raise at least €30,000 in much-needed funds for the children’s charity, and a donation of this size funds 1,667 hours of specialist home nursing care support for the over 400 children under Jack and Jill’s care across the country.


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