The world governing body of soccer honoured Canada captain Christine Sinclair on Monday for her record goal-scoring.
FIFA presented the 38-year-old from Burnaby, B.C., the world’s all-time leading scorer, with The Best FIFA Special Award for Women’s Football during its awards gala in Zurich.
Sinclair who led Canada to Olympic gold in Tokyo last summer, has 188 goals in 308 international appearances. She also has 53 assists in Canadian colours.
Sinclair scored her record-breaking 185th goal against St. Kitts and Nevis on Jan. 29, 2020, at the CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship in Edinburg, Texas. That beat American Abby Wambach’s record total.
“This is a very very special trophy for a very very special Best (player) as you are”, FIFA president Gianni Infantino said, holding some shiny hardware. “It’s very well-deserved. Fantastic.”
Sinclair, the leading international scorer among both women and men, opened by thanking her family for their support.
“What truly matters most are the moments I’ve shared and the connections that I’ve made,” she said via satellite. “From celebrating with an entire country to experiencing the heartbreak of defeat with those closest to me.
“To all my teammates and staff members along the way, I hope you know how thankful I am for all of you. Together we’ve had the ultimate goal of inspiring generations and changing the sport in our country. I’d say we’ve accomplished that and more.”
There should be more goals to come for Sinclair, who promised to continue to grow the women’s game.
She has committed to playing for Canada and the NWSL’s Portland Thorns for the next two seasons leading up to the 2023 World Cup.
“Canada Soccer’s women’s national team and no doubt the whole of Canada is immensely happy and proud to see Christine get the recognition she deserves globally for her contribution to the game both on and off the pitch,” Canada coach Bev Priestman said in a statement. “She is a leader, truly does represent greatness but stands for values that any young Canadian can carry with them in chasing their dreams.”
Sinclair has scored goals in 21 different countries and against 42 different opponents. Canada has won 76 per cent of the matches in which she has scored.
Canada Soccer named her record-breaking goal the 2020 Canada Soccer Moment of the Year.
Sinclair was 16 when she made her senior debut March 12, 2000, becoming Canada’s youngest-ever player at the time. She opened her scoring account one game later, beating star goalkeeper Bente Nordby in a 2-1 loss to Norway two days later at the Algarve Cup.
Sinclair’s glittering career has already garnered the Portland Thorns captain a slew of honours.
In December 2019, she was named the Canada Soccer player of the decade. Then-Canada Soccer president Steven Reed called Sinclair “a once-in-a-generation athlete that has been at the heart of Canadian sport for over 20 years.”
Sinclair has won Canada Soccer’s female player of the year 14 times.
Sinclair, who also led Canada to back-to-back Olympic bronze medals in 2012 and 2016, was named the 2012 Lou Marsh Trophy (Canadian athlete of the year) and Bobbie Rosenfeld Award (Canadian female athlete of the year) winner.
Canada’s flag-bearer at the London Olympics’ closing ceremonies in 2012, the veteran forward is a four-time finalist for FIFA World Player of the Year.
Sinclair is also the first soccer player appointed as an Officer of the Order of Canada and the first to have her name engraved on Canada’s Walk of Fame.
She won WPS club titles with FC Gold Pride and the Western New York Flash in 2010 and ’11 and the NWSL championship in 2013 and 2017 with Portland.
Sinclair has played in five World Cups, four Olympic tournaments and been shortlisted for FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year seven times (in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2016).
Neil Davidson/The Canadian Press
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 17, 2022.