Making the step of moving away from English football into Europe is always going to be a daunting one, whether it be in men’s, women’s or semi-professional football.

But former Reading FC women’s midfielder Lois Roche was bold enough to make that step as she now represents Aland United in Finland as she embarks on a new challenge in her footballing career.

Roche admitted she needed a new challenge and to be taken out of her comfort zone after being at Reading for a number of years.

“I’ve been at Aland United since the 14th of January All the girls are very welcoming which has made the move a lot easier than initially expected. I’m really enjoying my time in Aland it’s very different from what I’m used to which is great as I felt I needed a change to challenge me and take me out of my comfort zone as a player after being at Reading for many years.”

The midfielder was at Reading for 5 years and Roche was full of praise for everyone at the Berkshire based club.

“I was at Reading for 5 years and feel I developed massively as a player. We had many successful seasons from winning the premier league to being crowned WSL 2 champions and also becoming a full time professional footballer. I’ll be forever thankful to staff, players and fans surrounding the club as I fulfilled my dream of turning pro there which is something I will never forget.”

It was at Reading where Roche admitted she had her proudest moments of her career, which was the success of the team that were promoted from the WSL 2.

“I would have to say winning WSL 2 with Reading is my proudest moment. That was by far my favourite season in football so far which also enabled me to compete in the top league in the country as a full time professional footballer.”

Roche, is hopeful that the women’s game will continue to grow but does admit that it will never reach the level of media coverage that the men’s game receives.

“Women’s football has come on leaps and bounds since the Olympic’s and what with the great success from the national team in the World Cup.

I think there will never be enough women’s coverage as it’s always compared to the men’s game in which I feel we can never compete with but I feel the sport is going in the right direction and I’m really looking forward to what the future brings.”

The midfielder who has represented Ireland at Under 17 and 19’s level is optimistic ahead of her future in Finland and feels as though she can develop as a player in her new environment.

“I suppose it’s still early days but I do feel as if I’ve learnt a lot already and definitely feel as the season goes on I will continue to improve within this environment with the guidance of the coaching staff here.

My aim for this is to continue growing as a player and person, embracing the different culture and playing style over here and hopefully picking up some silverware.”

Roche and her new team mates are next in action against PK-35 Vantaa on Friday where they will be looking for an all important 3 points.

You can follow Lois’ journey on her Twitter- @_Roche