Whether you’re a soccer enthusiast or a casual viewer, there are always certain names that we recognize and resonate with excellence. One such name that makes people perk-up (especially us Canadians) is Christine Sinclair. The Burnaby born and raised soccer star has become a staple name for all of us – even those who don’t watch soccer.
An Olympic champion, world record holder, and a Canadian hero is what Sinclair is today. On December 5th Sinclair played her last match for the Canadian women’s national soccer team in a friendly match against Australia at Vancouver’s BC Place Stadium. For her final appearance, over 48,000 fans came out – the largest crowd for a women’s soccer friendly in Canadian history – and 190 youth soccer players walked the field sporting her red jersey to commemorate her 190 international goals.
With a career as enormous as hers, it’s difficult to sum it all up in a few words. Since her recent retirement from international soccer, we were inspired to make a feature blog to take a look at her career from her early days up until the end. Keep reading to learn more about the Canadian Legend!
Christine Sinclair was born and raised in Burnaby, British Columbia where she grew up surrounded by fans of the sport. Both her parents and her brother were very into soccer, her father playing at the university level, and both of her uncles going on to play in the professional leagues. Sinclair herself began playing the sport at the age of four, where she played for the South Burnaby Metro Club. When she was 11, she made British Columbia’s under-14 all-star squad, and led her club team to six league titles, five provincial titles, and two Top 5 national finishes.
Much of Christine Sinclair’s career has been coveted by her performance internationally with the Canadian National Team. At only 16 years old she was first invited to play for Team Canada, and she had her debut performance with the senior team at the 2000 Algarve Cup in Portugal where she scored three goals and led Canada in scoring. That same year, she was named Canadian Player of the year, and ended the year with a then-record 15 goals in 18 international games only at the age of 17.
In 2002, Sinclair helped Team Canada reach a second-place finish at the 2002 CONCACAF Women’s Gold Cup, played in the inaugural FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship where she scored a record 10 goals – earning her the Golden Boot and the Golden Ball as the tournament MVP. Sinclair made her 50th appearance for Canada – becoming the seventh Canadian woman to ever do so – at the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup, where she scored three goals and led Canada to a fourth-place finish.
While playing for Team Canada, Sinclair was also attending the University of Portland, where she studied life sciences and played soccer at the university level. In her first season playing for the Portland Pilots, she scored 23 goals in 24 games, making her the top-scoring freshman in the country. Throughout her university career, Sinclair scored more than 20 goals every season, won numerous All-American and Player of the Year awards, while also becoming the top female soccer player in the United States in 2004 & ‘05.
Later Professional Career
The first of four Olympic Games that Sinclair played in came in 2008, which was also the first time a Canadian soccer team qualified for the Olympic Summer Games. The team finished in eighth place – their lowest finish to date. During the 2012 Olympic Summer Games in London, Sinclair captained the team to its first-ever bronze medal while breaking the record for most goals scored (6) in women’s soccer at the Olympics. She was the tournament’s golden boot recipient and Canada’s flag bearer for the closing ceremony. The 2016 Summer Olympics saw Canada receive another bronze, while at the 2020 games, she led Team Canada to a historic gold medal. The Canadians stayed unbeaten across their six matches, and claimed their third consecutive Olympic medal.
With the enormous success of Team Canada at the Olympics, people expected similar performances at the World Cup. The 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup was hosted in Canada, where Team Canada made it all of the way to the quarter-finals where Sinclair scored Canada’s lone goal, but they ultimately lost the match 2-1. By the time the 2019 World Cup came around, Sinclair was reaching retirement age, but that didn’t stop her from reaching her 10th goal in five World Cup’s – an achievement that was first accomplished by Brazil’s Marta only seven days earlier. Sinclair’s sixth edition of the tournament was recently at the 2023 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, where Team Canada didn’t make it past the group stages.
Sinclair’s most well-known for holding the world’s all-time leading international goalscoring record with 190 goals scored.
In major competitions, she has scored 10 goals throughout five FIFA World Cups, 12 goals at the Olympic Games, and 46 goals in all Concacaf competitions.
Other Major Achievements:
- She is a 14-time Canada Soccer Player of the Year
- Two-time Canadian Athlete of the Year
- Canada Soccer Player of the Decade from 2010-2019
- 10-time finalist for the FIFA World Player of the Year
- Eight-time top five finalist for The Canadian Press Athlete of the Year
- One Gold Olympic Medal, and two Bronze
- Bronze FIFA World Cup medal
- Inducted in the Canada’s Walk of Fame in 2013
- Made Officer of the Order of Canada in 2017
- Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012
Where’s Sinclair Now?
Now that Sinclair is retired from international soccer, we’ll no longer get to watch her play for Team Canada again, but she made sure to pave the way for them by helping the team qualify for the 2024 Paris Summer Olympics.
After one last professional season with the Portland Thorns, Sinclair will officially retire from soccer. Aside from playing, Sinclair plans on coaching someday while continuing to fight for equality to raise up the women’s game.
The soccer world will have to continue without Christine Sinclair, but she’s left an impact on Canadians and the sport that will never be forgotten. If you’re interested in checking out some other player features, check out our blogs online!
- Tags: LIFESTYLE