Perth Glory striker Cyera Hintzen speaks exclusively to Ben Gilby about her decision to remain at the club for another year, her love for the city, and what the team need to do to make Finals (23/1/23).
Above: Cyera Hintzen battles away for Perth Glory against Western United this season. Photo: Tom McCarthy.
Cyera Hintzen has been a major part of the Perth Glory squad for the last season and a half. She’s thriving in the team’s collective atmosphere and has a deep love of the city and wider state of Western Australia.
Her physical upper body strength combined with pace and sharpness in front of goal have marked her out as a key member of Alex Epakis’ squad since she arrived ahead of the 2021/22 campaign.
Last season was a huge challenge for an overseas player. After one home game, the Western Australian border closed due to COVID restrictions, forcing the Glory to spend the campaign based in New South Wales. It brought the playing group together, but without the benefits of home fans and wider support networks, it was a tough time as the striker told me.
“It was a bit of a challenge because I was coming to a country that I’d never been to before and knew really nothing about, expecting to stay in one part of the country but being uprooted to staying somewhere else was a bit confusing at first.
“I was just getting settled into living in Perth and then had to readjust to a new environment. But it was a great experience to bond with the girls and I think that chemistry and the mentality to fight for each other really showed last season.”
That incredible chemistry and mentality drove Perth Glory to the brink of Finals football, failing by just goal difference from eventual champions Melbourne Victory. It was a situation that made it an easy decision for Hintzen to sign on for another year.
“I wanted to stay at the club because of the girls and what we created on and off the field last season, I was excited to build off of that. Also, being able to fully experience Perth because last year we had to go into a hub for the majority of the season in Sydney. Being based in a hotel wasn’t easy and wasn’t the ideal experience, but we made the most of it.”
After the conclusion of last year’s campaign with the Western Australians, the striker went to Scandinavia – a familiar location: “After the A-League season, I went back to Valur which was the first club I played for starting my professional career in Iceland. I played in the Icelandic League from May to October.”
With border restrictions now lifted, Hintzen was able to return to Australia and experience both Perth and the wider state of Western Australia (WA) – and she is absolutely loving it.
“It has been an amazing experience being able to finally be in WA. The beaches and coffee are great and I love how laid back it is in Perth. Everyone has a chill vibe and it’s really easygoing.”
The attacking star teamed up with fellow American offensive players Rylee Baisden and Gabriella Coleman, who she knew from her younger days. The duo are both highly rated by Hintzen, who feels Baisden’s ACL injury is a major blow to the club.
“I didn’t know Rylee before I came to Perth but it has been a great experience playing with her. Unfortunately, with her injury we won’t get that opportunity anymore which is sad because I feel like we just started to figure each other out. With Gabriella, we are both from Dallas, Texas so I kind of knew her but she was younger than me so we never got to play together before.”
After their excellent campaign last time round and an impressive recruitment campaign in close season, including having many key players tied down long-term, there were high hopes for Perth Glory this season. At the present time, the Western Australian side are finally starting to show their potential, but have only won twice to date.
Reflecting on the campaign so far, the American told me: “I think we started off a bit slow this season and are trying to figure out what the team needs from everyone to bring up our play to the level that we know we can.
“I think we have finally started to fully believe in each other and brought back that fight for each other’s mentality. We just need to put together a full 90 minutes and be more clinical when we have those opportunities in front of the goal.”
With Perth Glory currently on a three-week hiatus due to the postponement of last weekend’s game at Sydney FC and the club having the bye this coming week, it’s the perfect time to reflect on what the team need to do in the second half of the season. Hintzen said: “I think a successful season for me would just be putting my best foot forward every single day and bringing everything I can to the club to help us win.
“I think being in that conversation for finals is the goal because we were so close last year and know we are more than capable of achieving that. So just getting everyone to believe in each other and this club and showing everyone who doubts us that we can be the team to make it to finals.”