Goalkeeper Sample joins the Bit O’ Red

Sligo Rovers are delighted to announce the signing of experienced goalkeeper Kristen Sample.

The 33-year-old, who hails from Baltimore in the United States, brings with her a wealth of experience.

Sample was player/coach with Cork City last season in the WNL, and has previously won silverware with Durham University in England, and played with the Durham Wildcats.

She also played for Raheny United in 2010, before the club became Shelbourne FC.Sample is a vastly experienced coach, and currently has a UEFA A goalkeeping licence and she will begin her UEFA A licence this summer in Ireland.

She was previously assistant manager and goalkeeping coach to Portuguese women’s side Boavista Futebal Club.

Since 2010, she has felt an affinity with Sligo Rovers. It all started on that fateful day in November 2010 at the Aviva Stadium, when we beat Shamrock Rovers in a final that will go down in history.

Sample was there that day, and Ciaran Kelly’s penalty saving heroics have been in her mind ever since.

“I knew Sligo Rovers were planning on starting a women’s team. In 2010 I was living in Dublin when Sligo Rovers men made the cup final. My housemate got me tickets and I went.

“It was such an exciting match and the goalkeeper saved several penalties, it was huge. It’s always stuck in my mind. I loosely followed the club for a while, and my family heritage would be Mayo so I would be keen on the west of Ireland.

“Mayo doesn’t have a club so Sligo does. I loosely followed the team, so when I heard there was going to be a WNL team I got onto a friend who was coaching at Sligo and I asked who I’d talk to, and he said to reach out to Conor O’Grady.

“I did, and he was nice enough to listen to me. I came up and ran a session and he was like ‘we’re happy to have you in’. Since then it’s been trying to make it work with the visa.”

Kristen will be coaching alongside playing, and has enjoyed working with the other coaches and players so far.

“Everyone has been really good. I’d be a little bit closer to the WNL than they would be having played in it last year so I’ve kind of thrown some ideas their way and they’ve been really receptive to it.”

Sample’s coaching and playing has taken her around the world. It has introduced her to many people, one of those being former Bit O’Red goalkeeper Ryan Coulter who she met while completing her A Licence.

“I just saw him two weeks ago, we were at a convention in Kansas City. I’ve also been really lucky in a few ways. I’ve been able to take my dog everywhere with me too. She’s coming out here to Sligo in another month or two. She was with me in Portugal and she was with me in Cork too.

“She’s not been here long, but Sample is settling well into life here in Sligo.”It’s cold! And very windy! But I really like it. It’s a lovely town. I came up to Sligo last October and did a bit of hiking and saw all the beaches. I’m really enjoying it.

“The people are super friendly. Some of the best food I’ve had has been in Sligo.”

The 2022 Women’s National League season kicks off on Saturday, March 5th.

The Bit O’Red’s opening game is an away trip to Peamount United.