On Dec. 5, Christine Sinclair will play the final match of her legendary international career with the Canadian women’s national team.
After more than two decades, and over 300 international appearances, the greatest goalscorer in the history of international football will bow out at BC Place in Vancouver, close to her hometown of Burnaby, British Columbia. Wearing that red Canadian kit, she has been a central figure in many great moments over the years, so we’re looking back on ten of the very best.
Here is the first half of the list, with spots ten through six. Come back next week for the top five.
10. Arriving on the scene at the 2000 Algarve Cup
Christine Sinclair made her senior national team debut as a 16-year-old on March 12, 2000, in Canada’s opening match at the 2000 Algarve Cup — a 4-0 loss to China to kick off Group B action.
Two days later, Sinclair scored the very first goal of what would become the greatest goalscoring international career of all time, with an eighth-minute strike in a 2-1 loss to Norway. Canada won their third match against Finland, setting up a date with Denmark in the fifth-place match, where Sinclair would score twice as Canada came away with a 3-2 victory.
Her three goals placed Sinclair in a tie for second in the tournament’s Golden Boot race, and throughout that debut year she would score a total of 15 times in 18 matches. That tournament also kicked off an incredible streak of scoring at least once for Canada every year between 2000 and 2022. She has two more matches left to extend that streak to a 24th and final year.
9. Scoring her first international goal on Canadian soil
Remarkably, Christine Sinclair had already scored 20 senior international goals for Canada before finding her first on home soil.
That all changed on June 30, 2001, at Varsity Stadium in Toronto. In front of a then-Canadian record 9,023 fans for a women’s national team match, Sinclair scored the final goal in a 2-2 draw between Canada and the United States in a friendly. After Charmaine Hooper gave Canada the lead 15 minutes in, Shannon MacMillan and Tiffeny Milbrett scored on either side of halftime to give the Americans a 2-1 advantage. One minute after Milbrett’s goal, Sinclair tied it up with a goal of her own to earn a draw.
It was one of the final events at the old Varsity Stadium, which was demolished in 2002 before being rebuilt in the following years.
8. Lighting up the 2002 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship
Already an established part of the senior national team by that point, Sinclair was selected to play for Canada at the inaugural FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship, now known as the U-20 Women’s World Cup. The tournament was hosted by Canada in 2002, between Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton, Swangard Stadium in Burnaby, and Centennial Stadium in Victoria.
While she scored multiple goals in all three group matches during an impressive showing, it was the quarter-final against England that is looked back upon fondest. In a 6-2 demolition of the Lionesses, Sinclair scored five goals, with Katie Thorlakson adding the other.
Sinclair scored 11 goals in total throughout the tournament, a record that still holds to this day, winning both the Golden Boot and MVP as Canada finished second to the United States, losing in extra time of the final.
That squad featured several future Canadian legends, including Erin McLeod, Carmelina Moscato, Kara Lang, Brittany Timko (now Brittany Timko Baxter), and others.
7. Marking appearance number 300 with a goal
On July 21, 2021, Christine became just the fourth footballer to ever play 300 times for their country, joining a trio of Americans: Kristine Lilly (354 caps), Carli Lloyd (316), and Christie Pearce (311). Since making her debut back in 2000, Sinclair has rarely missed a Canada camp, and often been the focal point of it.
The occasion was also special for Sinclair as it was the first match of her fourth Olympic Games tournament. She wasted no time scoring at a fourth straight Olympics either, finding the back of the net in just the sixth-minute, collecting her own rebound after an initial shot came back off the post, before a well-taken finish that beat Sakiko Ikeda to open the scoring.
Canada would end up drawing that match, as Mana Iwabuchi equalized for the hosts in the 84th minute. Canadians will forever look back on that tournament fondly, but more on that in part two of this countdown…
6. Scoring her 100th international goal for Canada
Very few people will ever score one goal for their country, even fewer will score ten, twenty, or fifty. Christine Sinclair, who has an incredible 190 to her name, is one of just 21 people, male or female, to have scored 100 or more, and one of three to have scored more than 150, alongside Mia Hamm (158) and Abby Wambach (184) of the United States.
Sinclair reached the 100-goal milestone on February 20, 2010, in an international friendly against Poland at Alpha Sports Centre in Larnaca, Cyprus. She scored the opening goal in a 3-0 victory for Les Rouges as they prepared for the 2010 Cyprus Women’s Cup. Sinclair would score in that tournament as well, the equalizer in a 2-1 win over Switzerland four days after — her 101st goal coming just four days after number 100.
Next week, we’ll count down the top five moments as we inch closer to Christine Sinclair’s final Canada match on December 5. For tickets to that game at Vancouver’s BC Place, click here.