Christine Sinclair, the world’s most prolific international goalscorer and a beloved sporting icon in Canada has announced her international retirement.

This decision marks the culmination of an extraordinary 24-year international career. During the past two decades, she has played a pivotal role in transforming the sport in her nation.

The long-time Canucks captain has shared her intention to conclude her career with the national team later this year. She will not be participating in the 2024 Olympics. This means Canada will be without her as they defend the Olympic gold medal they earned at the Tokyo Games.

What did Christine Sinclair say about Canada retirement?

In a touching and heartfelt letter that she addressed to her 16-year-old self, Christine Sinclair’s words were published in the Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail.

“I’m writing to you 23 years, six World Cups, four Olympic Games, 327 caps and 190 international goals after it all began.

“Reading this, ‘What more could there be?’ you’ll ask. If you 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 will 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’ll 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.”

“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.”

What does this mean for her club career?

While retiring from international play, Sinclair has expressed her intention to continue her professional career. Sinclair was a forward for the Portland Thorns in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) since 2013. The superstar plans to extend her career in the NWSL for the upcoming season.

The 40-year-old concluded her letter with a playful and hopeful note, saying, “P.S. – Portland, how about one more year?”

The forward’s farewell matches will be held in Canada before the end of the year. Although no official announcements have been made, it’s expected that a substantial ceremony will be organized, as per Burnaby Now.

With only two international windows remaining on the 2023 FIFA calendar, fans will have few opportunities to see Sinclair again. Bev Priestman’s players will play against Brazil on October 28, and again three days later.

Photo credit: IMAGO & ZUMA Wire