Christine Sinclair Reflects on a World-Record Career
The retiring Canadian soccer icon once dreamt of being.... and Olympic speed skater?!?
By Steven Sandor | November 15, 2023
As a kid, Christine Sinclair dreamed of representing Canada in the Olympics. She dreamed of wearing a medal around her neck as the national anthem played.
Except, she imagined that she’d be heading to the podium after blowing past the competition on the speed-skating oval. As a kid, her first Olympic idol was Canadian speed skating gold medalist Catriona Le May Doan.
To Sinclar, soccer was just a hobby. “I started playing because my brother did, and I wanted to as my brother did.”
Sinclair, who announced her retirement plans from soccer in October, has three Olympic medals, one of them gold. She is the all-time leading scorer in women’s international soccer. She’s the greatest soccer player Canada has ever produced. And, as part of her farewell tour, she’s going to be speaking Nov. 19 at the Edmonton Convention Centre as a fundraiser for the Edmonton Public Library.
She will play her final game for the Canadian national team Dec. 5 at Vancouver’s BC Place, and said these final few weeks of her soccer-playing career offer the chance for her “to be able to say thank you to the fans who supported me throughout my career.”
And, at 40 years of age, in these final few weeks of her career, she is rediscovering the joy of playing the game again. Obviously, as a professional, there is pressure that comes with the game. But, knowing that she’s about to hang them up, it’s back to playing soccer for soccer’s sake.
“Players have asked what it’s like to play with no stress,” she said. “It’s freeing to come back to my roots and playing just for the love of it.”
She said that she’s proud to have been able to play till she’s 40, which is a rarity in high-level soccer. Actually, “rarity” in an understatement. Soccer is a sport where 30 is considered “old.”
“Not many players get to have the length of career that I’ve had, and I am proud of that,” she said.
She’s inspired generations of players in Canada. There will likely be more than a few No. 12 Sinclair jerseys visible when she comes to Edmonton Nov. 19. But the last thing she wants to do is tell anyone that she’s going to be the “next” Christine Sinclair. Kids deal with enough pressure as it is when it comes to sport.
“That’s hard, and I wouldn’t want to put that on any player,” she said. “I’m not going to pick out a name, I just know the future of the [national] team is in great hands.”