Canadian women’s national team captain Christine Sinclair was presented with the Best FIFA Special Award on Monday.
The award honours the attacker as the world’s leading all-time international scorer with 188 goals.
But for Sinclair, it’s never been about the spotlight, despite being the face of Canada Soccer since she joined the senior national team in 2000.
“What truly matters most is the moments I’ve shared and the connections I’ve made,” she said. “From celebrating with an entire country to experiencing the heartbreak of defeat with those closest to me.”
Growing the game is also a priority for the 2010-2019 Canada Soccer Player of the Decade.
“At this point in my career, the thing I’m most proud of is being able to have been a part of the game from the very beginning, where there was limited support, limited professional environments to now, where it’s truly a global game, where there’s professional environments, successful leagues, successful international tournaments.
“I do want to say that women’s football, women, female athletes have often been an afterthought. My goal moving forward is to continue the fight, continue the change and to continue growing the sport we all love.”
The Burnaby, B.C. native surpassed retired American Abby Wambach’s 184 international goals at the CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship in January 2021 by scoring the record-breaking 185th.
That was just the start of the journey to the Tokyo Olympics, where Sinclair captained Canada to its first gold medal in soccer, following two bronze medals in 2012 and 2016.
The 38-year-old got her most recent goal, 188, at Canada’s Celebration Tour in October during a 5-1 win over New Zealand.
The year was full of victories for Sinclair, who won the NWSL Challenge Cup, International Champions Cup and NWSL Shield with her club team, the Portland Thorns. Since joining the Thorns in 2013, Sinclair has led them to two league titles.
She might lead them to more as she announced on Monday that she will play club and international for at least two more seasons, which includes the 2023 FIFA World Cup.
“If I’m healthy I want to keep going,” she said. “If the national team still needs me, if Portland still needs me.”