Christine Sinclair: All-time leading international goalscorer to retire

Christine Sinclair of Portland Thorns FC drapes the Canadian National flag around herself
Christine Sinclair of Portland Thorns FC drapes the Canadian National flag around herself after winning the 2022 National Womens Soccer League Championship Match (Photo by Ira L. Black/Getty Images)

On Thursday, international football’s all-time leading goal scorer Christine Sinclair posted that she was hanging up her boots — literally — with a cryptic video of hanging cleats on her social media.

The Canadian team confirmed on Friday that the post was Sinclair announcing she is set to retire from the international game. Sinclair has scored 190 goals for the defending Olympic gold medalists — more than any man or woman, for any national team.

Sinclair will play her final two international matches in western Canada in the November 27th to December 6th international window, according to Neil Davidson with the Canadian Press. Before then, Canada will play two home friendlies against Brazil. The first will occur on October 28th in Montreal, then the second on October 31st in Halifax. 

So, Canadians will have time to say goodbye to their captain, who has been the prominent face of Canadian football (and sports) for two decades. 

A legendary career

Sinclair has won Canada Soccer Player of the Year an unprecedented 14 times over her career. That career includes an Olympic gold medal, two bronze medals, and a CONCACAF title. She has competed in six World Cups — scoring in five — with a missed penalty kick in the 2023 Women’s World Cup preventing her from becoming the first player to score in six.

At 40 years old and more than 300 national team appearances, Sinclair’s era with the national team has spanned immense growth in women’s football. At 16, she made her debut for Canada in the 2000 Algarve Cup, leading the tournament by scoring six goals. 

For the past decade, Sinclair has played at club level for the Portland Thorns. She captained the National Women’s Soccer League team to three league titles. According to the Canadian Press, Sinclair plans to play one more club season next year.

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She also played collegiately for the University of Portland in the same city. With the Pilots, she won the award for the top college player in the United States, twice.

Frequently recognized by coaches and teammates for her work ethic and leadership, Sinclair is a dangerous striker who is frequently fundamental, rather than flashy. She’s also been a part of Canadian players’ advocacy for better pay and player development, looking toward the future of the program. 

Though the Canadians will look to defend their goal medal at the 2024 Paris Olympics next year, Sinclair will not be on that roster. Canada was knocked out in the group stage of the 2023 Women’s World Cup, in the “group of death” alongside co-host Australia, Nigeria and Ireland.

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