Sunday Story: Cortnee Vine

After curling home a screamer against Spain a fortnight ago for the Matildas, Sydney FC winger Cortnee Vine is raring to go for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

The 24-year-old attacker, whose stunning effort recently helped Australia to a 3-2 win over the Spanish at CommBank Stadium, is fully focused on Sky Blues duties ahead of the tournament – looking to hit peak form before the showpiece event.

And with recent Matildas fixtures only a snippet of what is to come in July, Vine is eagerly awaiting Australia’s World Cup opener.

Vine at Allianz Stadium

The atmosphere for that goal was insane!

Cortnee Vine

“If that’s a bit of a taste for what the World Cup will sound like, that’s pretty insane,” said Vine.

“That was only 17,000 and I think we’ve just sold out of the 80,000 for our first [World Cup] game, that’s crazy.

“The atmosphere for that goal was insane. I still watch it sometimes and relive it! Even the Sydney FC girls have been watching it, whenever they’re sad they watch it! It was definitely one to remember.”

And with the excitement building for the World Cup on home soil, Vine is utilising a humble approach to ensure she makes the final Matildas squad.

“I’m still not guaranteed to be there,” Vine said. “I know that I still have to push for my spot in the 23 and there’s people coming back, there’s all these things.

“You can think about the external stuff but I just need to focus on club land and what I can do here and improve on myself in Australia. Hopefully I get another opportunity to go play England in a month and hopefully that leads into a World Cup opportunity.

“It’s insane that it’s in Australia, I can’t imagine it. It’s one of those things where I think you have to be there before it actually hits you.”

Vine with the ball for the Matildas with Sam Kerr in the background

With Sydney FC pushing to win a third consecutive Liberty A-League Premiership, Head Coach Ante Juric will certainly require Vine’s attacking exploits for the run-in.

The right-winger has three goals and four assists so far this campaign for the Sky Blues, building upon last season’s nine goals and two assists in just 12 appearances – a feat which saw Vine win the club’s Player of the Year award for 2022.

And despite also being a two-time PFA Team of the Season member, it has not all been plain sailing.

“Team sports can be quite negative sometimes,” Vine explained. “I’ve been part of a lot of teams that didn’t probably speak to each other in a nice way.

Vine celebrating a goal against Wanderers

“Especially growing up you already have a lot of insecurities there, you know, getting told that was a crap pass and all that sort of stuff. You already know it’s bad, you’re not meaning to hit a different player. Those environments really halted my progression when I was younger.

“I don’t think it affects everyone that much but it did when I was a bit younger so I strived to be perfect at things, but that’s never going to happen. It’s sport, you make mistakes. You’re not perfect.

“And I think that was a big learning curve and that’s why I did see a sports psych [psychologist] about it. He definitely helped me with some strategies of how I can overcome things … the environment you’re in really matters and Sydney FC provide a really positive environment.”

Vine posing for Sydney FC Headshots in her first season in Sky Blue

Before signing for the Sky Blues in 2020, Shepparton-born Vine plied her trade all over the country – playing for Brisbane Roar, Newcastle Jets and cross-town rivals Western Sydney Wanderers.

Vine with Brisbane Roar in 2015
Vine with the Jets in 2017

The forward also represented the Young Matildas between 2016-2018, netting six goals in just 11 appearances.

And since joining Sydney FC, the elusive winger has never looked back.

“It’s seriously been the best team I’ve been a part of in my career,” said Vine. “Ante pushes us as athletes but also pushes the positivity within training and games, he doesn’t stand for any negative chat.

“It helps that we’re all mates off the field and we all catch up away from football and we all encourage each other individually as athletes.

“There’s a lot of girls in Sydney FC that should be in Matildas. They all back me so much and are so happy for me, and that’s pretty hard in sport. You have your own goal and ambitions and you see people around you doing those goals that you want to do as well.

“The fact I have teammates that still came to the Spain game and watched me play, made the effort to come see me and back me with my individual career I think speaks volumes really with our squad. We just back each other and that comes from Ante.”

In the build-up to the Women’s World Cup in July, Vine has taken on additional media duties for the Matildas, recently attending an Adidas event to unveil the official tournament ball amongst sporting stars like Eniola Aluko and Ian Thorpe.

Vine doing media with the Matildas

The winger however prefers to keep a low profile, saying that she must become more familiar to media attention in preparation for the World Cup.

“It’s been very cool being at all these events with some major sporting stars,” said Vine.

“It’s still pretty surreal whenever I get to go to them, I still get a bit of imposter syndrome! I’m like, ‘why am I here with all these people?’

“I’m not the biggest fan of media or being in the spotlight, it’s something I’ve had to switch into leading into a World Cup year. It’s going to happen at a World Cup if I get selected, we’re going to be in the spotlight.

“There’s going to be interviews, there’s going to be questions and I think I just need to get used to it and get involved and I think I have to normalise it.”

Despite being uncomfortable with the media, Vine is certainly comfortable with doing her talking on the pitch, as the winger looks to deliver more silverware for Sydney FC this season.