On October 20, Canadian soccer icon Christine Sinclair announced her retirement. While she does plan to play for the Portland Thorns in the National Women’s Soccer League next season, at the end of 2023, Sinclair will officially retire from international soccer. 

A soccer legend 

Sinclair is a household name in many Canadian homes due to her great contribution to the Canadian women’s national soccer team. In January 2000, Sinclair was invited to a senior team training camp, kicking off her professional soccer career with the Canadian national team. Nearly 24 years later, Sinclair is the all-time highest international goal scorer — for both men’s and women’s soccer — scoring 190 goals from her over 300 international game appearances for Canada. 

Sinclair has also won three Olympic medals in her career, winning two bronze medals in 2012 and 2016, and winning gold in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after Canada defeated Sweden in a penalty shootout. Sinclair knew deep down that after the win in the Tokyo Olympics, she didn’t want to make another Olympic appearance. “The way the Tokyo Olympics ended, you can’t beat it,” Sinclair said in an interview with The Canadian Press

Another notable accomplishment of Sinclair was her induction into Canada’s Walk of Fame in 2013. She was also named Canada’s Soccer Female Player of the Year 14 times — winning the award for 11 consecutive years between 2004 and 2014. Additionally, Sinclair was named the Player of the Decade in 2019 and was named to the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football Woman Team of the Decade for 2011–2020.

A role model

Sinclair is a role model to many young athletes, especially women athletes. She has proven time and time again just how powerful and capable women in sports are. She will be remembered not only by Canadians but by sports fans all over the world for the mark she has left. 

Her achievements left a legacy on Canadian soccer for the better. She has been an inspiration to upcoming athletes, and even with her absence on the soccer pitch, she will continue to motivate others. She has helped to shape the young women on the Canadian Women’s national soccer team, and because of this, it is undoubtedly clear that they will easily find a woman willing to follow in Sinclair’s steps as a leader. 

While Sinclair is a quiet athlete and tends to not say much, when she does choose to speak up she can move a room of depleted athletes. For example, after a loss to the US in the 2012 Olympic semifinal, the Canadian locker room was solemn, and Sinclair could not stand it. “She said something like, ‘Keep your heads up, I love this team, we’ve got a bronze medal to win, and I’m not leaving here without one,’” Melissa Tancredi said in an interview with Sportsnet

At that moment, the only thing that mattered was leaving the Olympics with a bronze medal, and that is exactly what Canada did. Sinclair proves that being a leader does not mean being obnoxiously loud or ostentatious. Instead, she displays that a leader can be calm and composed, and when they speak they can inspire others. 

Women’s representation in sports is a topic that will always remain important, and because of Sinclair, women in sports have become more widely recognized and appreciated. Christine Sinclair’s legacy will live on forever, and although she may not be seen on the soccer pitch, we can be certain that she will always be known for the everlasting mark she has left on the sporting industry.