Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Why you need to appreciate Christine Sinclair.....now!

Canada's captain, and one of the top 10 strikers in the world Male or Female.
 With her four goal performance against Guyana in the Women's World Cup qualifiers on Sunday, Burnaby B.C's Christine Sinclair proved why she is Canada's best soccer player Male or Female. Now lets put aside the quality of the opposition for a second and look at the big picture within her performance.

Which other Canadian player male or female can you name that can put in a performance like that? Do you know of any Canadian international regardless of sex that could say that they are the undisputed face of Canadian soccer? Can you name a player in Canadian soccer history that has answered that call for his or her country and produced at a high level almost every single time they are called upon?

Christine is the only player that comes to mind for me, consider the stats at the senior level including Sundays game she has made 142 caps for Canada, she has 106 senior team goals. Think about that for a second...if your good at math figure out the average. She score in 74% of the matches she plays for Canada, that's one of the highest strike rates in the world even when you stack it up against men. Many of those goals have also been massive ones to either put Canada into the Women's World Cup, or into the Olympics. She is a 5 time (probably soon to be 6 time) Canadian player of the year, she is still the all time single tournament goal scorer for the FIFA U-19 tournament in which she scored 10 goals, and she got her 100th cap for Canad at the age of 25. These feats are unheard of at any level of the game but the fact that she's Canadian should make her one of our country's biggest sports stars.

So why is it that I believe that the majority of you who will be reading this have absolutely no idea who she is, especially those of you right here in Canada.

The issue here is two fold, the first one is the most obvious. Women's soccer gets little respect by the male dominated soccer media, therefore the population at large give the game little respect.

The second and a bit more disappointing issue is the lack of support Canadians give it's non major professional sports athletes. Amateur athletes get their love every two years, Hockey players get it 24-7, but soccer players get little coverage or time here. It leads to a situation where a large part of the nation never hears about Christine's great performances for Canada, and this is not at a small time level. This is at the international level, against some of the best female players in the world. However few people know her, I doubt she's met the Prime Minister or is in the mentioning for those Canadian athlete of the year awards. Yet year after year she puts up the performances to warrant the consideration. What gives?

If it helps FIFA in its annual player of the year lists has shortlisted Christine as one of the top 10 female players in the world. Brazil's Marta has taken the award the past few years now and I believe she will take it again this year. However being mentioned in a list with all those great players should get Miss Sinclair some love back home.

The question is will we take it a really appreciate that as Canadian soccer fans we are witnessing one of the greatest soccer players in the world today do their thing? In our shirt! Or will we do what I fear will happen, ignore it and tout Justin Bebier as our best export of talent.

I just threw up in my mouth a bit!


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