July 12th, 2024

Tributes pour in for Sinclair in wake of plans to retire from international game

By The Canadian Press on October 20, 2023.

Canada's Christine Sinclair watches a video tribute as she is recognized for her international goal scoring record set in 2020, before a women's friendly soccer match against Nigeria, in Vancouver, on Friday, April 8, 2022. The star Canadian soccer player has announced her retirement. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

The greatest ever. The goat.

Tributes were quick to pour in Friday after news broke that Canada captain Christine Sinclair is retiring from international football at the end of the year.

“Simply put, she has single-handedly put Canadian soccer on the map,” said former Canada teammate Rhian Wilkinson, who coached Sinclair at Portland. “Her legacy is enormous and touches every aspect of sport in our country. She is an example of excellence both on (and off) the field, and we are so fortunate that she happens to be Canadian.”

“Very few players can lace up their boots and transcend a sport both in this country and globally,” added Canada coach Bev Priestman. “Christine has done just that – both as a player and a person who stands up for what she believes. She is known and admired by all Canadians and has been pivotal in every single country-stopping moment.”

The 40-year-old from Burnaby, B.C., who plans to play one more season for the NWSL Portland Thorns next year, is expected to play four more games for Canada before stepping away from the international game.

Canada hosts Brazil on Oct. 28 and 31 in Montreal and Halifax, respectively. Two more games are expected in the Nov. 27 to Dec. 5 FIFA international window although Canada Soccer has yet to confirm the specifics.

A source said the games will be against Australia with one in Vancouver. The other is expected in the same region.

“The moment when Christine’s last kick or final whistle goes for this country, she can leave the field knowing she has changed this game forever, inspired an entire generation, and paved a better future for all through her work off the pitch,” said Priestman. “That is one tremendous legacy.”

Sinclair, who has 190 goals in 327 international appearances, will leave the international game as its all-time leading scorer.

Sinclair has scored against 43 different opponents in 22 different countries, according to Canada Soccer.

Ten of those goals came at the FIFA World Cup, with 12 more at the Olympic Games and another 46 in CONCACAF competitions.

Sinclair’s next game will be a milestone 50th on Canadian soil since June 2001 when she scored the equalizer in a 2-2 draw with the U.S. at Toronto’s Varsity Stadium. Sinclair won 28 caps before making her senior debut in Canada after matches in Australia, Germany, Morocco, Norway, Portugal, Sweden and the U.S.

“Congratulations to Christine on a stellar career that has been extraordinary and inspiring both on and off the field. While her days as an active women’s national team player are coming to an end, her legacy will endure in the hearts and ambitions of so many young athletes across Canada and around the world.” said Canada Soccer president Charmaine Crooks.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 20, 2023

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