Record goalscorer Christine Sinclair announces retirement from international soccer

Christine Sinclair, one of the most decorated soccer players of all time, has announced her retirement from the international game, effective at the end of the year.

In a heartfelt letter addressed to her 16-year-old self, which was published in Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail, Sinclair wrote: “I’m writing to you 23 years, six World Cups, four Olympic Games, 327 caps and 190 international goals after it all began.”

Across her career with the Canadian national team, Sinclair’s 190 goals make her the leading goalscorer across both men’s and women’s soccer at the international level.

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.”

While Sinclair will widely be remembered for her accomplishments on the field, the 2021 Olympic gold medalist writes powerfully about her work off of it.

“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 writes.

“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.

TOPSHOT - Canada's forward Christine Sinclair is marked by USA's midfielder Julie Ertz (R) during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games women's semi-final football match between the United States and Canada at Ibaraki Kashima Stadium in Kashima on August 2, 2021. (Photo by MARTIN BERNETTI / AFP) (Photo by MARTIN BERNETTI/AFP via Getty Images)
Sinclair stretches for the ball while the US’ Julie Ertz challenges her at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games in the semifinal match./Martin Bernetti/AFP/Getty Images

The three-time NWSL champion is also quick to thank those who have helped her along the way.

“Here I am preparing to tie the bow on an unbelievable international career shared with so many incredible teammates, coaches, support staff, fans and of course family. We are not here without them. Here I am in the 90th minute of our journey.”

Canada hosts Brazil twice in the upcoming international break before the final international break of the year in November.

While Sinclair will be retiring from international football, the Portland Thorns star hints at an encore for her NWSL side.

The 40-year-old signed off her letter with: “P.S. – Portland, how about one more year?”

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