Perth Glory sign ‘standout performer’ and Golden Boot winner who’s overcome a serious hurdle

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Perth Glory have added firepower to their Liberty A-League team after bringing in local star and familiar face Tia Stonehill.

Stonehill was previously on the books of Glory in 2018-19 and 2020 and she now returns to the club as NPLW WA’s Golden Boot winner, having scored 24 goals for Balcatta Etna this season.

The 26-year-old’s Glory homecoming completes her gruelling journey back to the A-League Women after overcoming a serious injury that threatened to change her life.

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Stonehill won the NPLW WA Gold Medal (Player of the Year) having spearheaded Murdoch University Melville’s treble-winning campaign in 2021, however, she missed the entire 2022 campaign due to fracturing her L1 and L2 transverse which are bones on the spine that connect the muscles to the back.

Fortunately, Stonehill avoided surgery or a brace but she was restricted to no movement for eight weeks and she was finally able to start running nine months after the injury.

“I’m a very independent person so to be stuck in bed and needing 24/7 care for the first few weeks was hard,” she told Impetus Football earlier this year.

“Then trying to process all the emotions that followed but my main concern was the severity and recovery as I didn’t know until the six-week mark when I saw a specialist spinal surgeon what that was going to look like and more of that fact that, would I be okay in my day to day life, let alone my football career.”

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Glory head coach Alex Epakis is relishing the opportunity to work with Stonehill in 2023-24.

“Tia has had an exceptional NPLW season here in our local competition,” he said.

“From the first round of the NPLW competition onwards, she has been a standout performer with goals, effort and determination.

“In addition to her speed and directness in attack, she has the quality of scoring different types of goals which is important for us as a team and the focus on the attacking style of play we want to have this season.

“We need a good balance of attacking weapons and Tia certainly brings more quality to our squad.

“She has worked extremely hard to have this opportunity and her resilience and determination has not gone unnoticed.

“I am looking forward to coaching Tia and working closely with her to help take her game to another level.”

Stonehill is the latest new face in Perth, where Glory have already signed Sally James (Melbourne City)Isobel Dalton (Lewes)Georgia Cassidy, Tanika Lala, Grace JohnstoneGrace Jale (Canberra United), and Millie Farrow.

Liz Anton, Tash Rigby, Izzy Foletta, Claudia Mihocic, Bella Wallhead, Sofia Sakalis, Sarah Cain, Sadie Lawrence, Hana Lowry, Abbey Green, Morgan Aquino and Susan Phonsongkham have also re-signed.

Glory have not featured in the finals since 2018-19 after finishing sixth last term.

“It feels great to be a part of the club again and I’m honoured to be representing my home town,” she said.

“There has been a lot of growth at the club, in the A-League and in Women’s football across the world, so I’m really excited for the season ahead and grateful for this opportunity.

“I’m hoping to continue growing and developing as a person and as a player and to keep improving my game.

“I’m striving to become an influential, impactful and key player amongst the squad and am ready to give my all to help the team succeed.

“I believe that this team can and will have a lot of success this season. We have a great group of players who are all committed to achieving the same goal and I know we will want to show everyone what we are capable of and play finals football.”