Freshman forward Cyera Hintzen’s start at Texas didn’t go as planned.
The Garland native scored 108 goals in high school and was eager to get a taste of Division I Soccer. But she barely got a chance to play upon arriving on the 40 Acres.
Hintzen suffered a lower leg injury on the first day of preseason while attempting to intercept a ball, sidelining her for several weeks.
“It was tough,” Hintzen said. “I was kinda nervous to come back because everyone had already got a feel. I was like ‘Oh my gosh I’m the only one that doesn’t have a feel for the game or chemistry with the team,’ so I was really nervous.”
The high-flying forward missed the team’s first five games after the injury. However, head coach Angela Kelly never doubted that Hintzen would come back strong.
“It just gives her a perspective that she’s so grateful she has the ability to play,” Kelly said. “It gave her an extra piece of hunger for when she did step on the field.”
Hintzen headlined Texas’ No. 15-ranked recruiting class heading into the 2016 season. Still, the staff made sure she didn’t jump the gun with a premature return.
“It’s one of those things that we were very cautious about because we always want to do what’s best for the student athletes,” Kelly said. “When we put her on the field, we expected her to go.”
Hintzen finally debuted on Sept. 9 in Columbus against then-No. 19 Ohio State. The Longhorns lost the contest, 2-1, as she attempted to adjust to the speed of the collegiate game.
“I was so scared to run,” Hintzen said. “And it was against Ohio State which is a great team, so that made me even more nervous.”
The Buckeyes held Hintzen in check during her debut. But it didn’t take long for her to jump-start her season.
One week later, Hintzen saw an opportunity to score against then-undefeated UC Santa-Barbara, firing a ball into the back of the net from 25 yards out.
“That goal was a rocket,” Kelly said. “I think that’s something that she is use to doing throughout her soccer career thus far, and I think that’s just a little glimpse for the Texas fans as to her abilities.”
Hintzen racked up the accolades in high school before heading to Austin, including Gatorade State Girls Soccer Player of the Year and her district’s Most Valuable Player award.
But she takes the most pride in her experience with Team USA. Hintzen traveled to New Zealand with the under-19 national team in June, where she recorded two goals in a three-game tour.
Kelly said other teams have already taken notice of Hintzen’s impressive resume.
“She’s drawing two and three defenders, which is making her job a lot more difficult,” Kelly said. “But that’s the respect that our other opponents are already giving her and she’s just been playing seven games.”
The Longhorns (6–6–1) have struggled thus far in Big 12 play, losing all four contests. But team still has high aspirations for the season, hoping for a Big 12 title.
And through just six games, Hinzten has already emerged as a key part of Texas’ lofty goals.
“Cyera is a special player,” Kelly said. “I think we’ve all realized that. We’ve been excited for her to put on that Texas jersey for a while.”