Canadian great and one of the most decorated female soccer players of all time, Christine Sinclair, has announced her retirement from international soccer, effective at the end of the year.
Announced on the weekend, Sinclair is mainly known for being the all-time leading scorer in international football and leading Canada to the Olympic gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics that were held in 2021.
The 14-time Canada Soccer Player of the Year, Sinclair’s record in the international arena includes 327 caps and 190 goals for the nation between 2000 and 2023, playing in six FIFA Women’s World Cups and is one of only three players of either sex to score at five different World Cup events – the other two are Marta and Cristiano Ronaldo.
She published a heartfelt letter addressed to her 16-year-old self in The Globe and Mail (a Canadian newspaper) to announce her retirement from international soccer.
“I’m writing to you 23 years, six World Cups, four Olympic Games, 327 caps and 190 international goals after it all began,” Sinclair wrote.
Sinclair said she will be ending her international career in the same way it started, “with some tears, playing the game we love on some field in Vancouver.”
“Reading this, ‘What more could there be?’ you’ll ask. If you will become the most prolific goal scorer of all-time and win an Olympic gold medal, then things must go smoothly, right? Well, pretty soon you’ll discover things aren’t so rosy behind the scenes,” Sinclair wrote.
“You’ll learn Canadian women’s national team players were playing for $10 a day. You’ll hear the prize money for the Women’s World Cup is going to increase, only for the men’s prize money to increase by more, widening the pay gap.
“You’ll witness young girls slip though the developmental cracks because of the lack of a legitimate pathway to the national team.
“You will stand up to your federation to push forward on a landmark equal pay agreement for the national team. You will help announce that a domestic professional women’s football league is coming to Canada.
“You will inspire generations of young girls to kick a soccer ball for the first time with real dreams of playing professionally. And you better believe we will continue to fight for what’s right. For equality for past, present and future generations,” Sinclair details.
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Sinclair’s retirement means she will be unavailable to represent Canada and defend the Gold medal at the 2024 Paris Olympics. However, while she steps away from international soccer, her career is far from over.
The three-time NWSL champion and seven-time shortlisted FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year hinted that she will return to the Portland Thorns for an extra season in her letter.
The 40-year-old signed off her letter with: “P.S. – Portland, how about one more year?”