Canada teammate Jordyn Huitema hadn’t been born when Christine Sinclair won her first Canadian Women’s Player of the Year Award in 2000.
Eighteen years later, Sinclair’s remarkable soccer career continues to impress.
The 35-year-old from Burnaby, B.C., earned her 14th Canadian Player of the Year Award on Tuesday capping a year that saw her shine on both the club and international stage.
Sinclair finished first in voting by Canadian media and coaches ahead of defender Kadeisha Buchanan, last year’s winner. UCLA midfielder Jessie Fleming was third, ahead of Manchester City striker Janine Beckie and Paris Saint-Germain wingback-midfielder Ashley Lawrence.
The men’s winner will be announced Wednesday. Besiktas midfielder Atiba Hutchinson has claimed the award the last six years.
Sinclair delivered the winning goal in the game that qualified Canada for next year’s Women’s World Cup in France — scoring a second for good measure in Canada’s 7-0 win over Panama in the semifinals of the CONCACAF Championship in October.
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And she led Canada in scoring for the 15th time in 19 years, with eight goals and two assists in 12 international matches as Canada went 8-4-0.
With 177 goals in 274 appearances for Canada, Sinclair is on the verge of soccer history. She is just seven goals back of retired American Abby Wambach (184) on the all-time scoring list.
On the club front, Sinclair played all 2,160 minutes for the Portland Thorns as they finished second in the NWSL. She scored nine goals and finished tied for third in the league with six assists as the Thorns reached the league championship game, losing 3-0 to the North Carolina Courage in September.
After being honoured as Canada’s best in 2000, Sinclair won the award every year from 2004 to 2014 until Buchanan interrupted the string in 2015. Sinclair won again in 2016, with Buchanan collecting the award in 2017.
Sinclair was 16 when she made her debut for Canada in March 2000.
Captain of both Canada and Portland, Sinclair has changed her game in recent years. After many years as a forward, she plays a more withdrawn role in Portland where she can serve both as provider and scorer. She is all over the field for Canada, drawing teammates into the play or threatening goalkeepers herself.
In January, Sinclair was appointed to the Order of Canada. One of the country’s highest civilian honours, it recognizes outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation.
She has also taken a leading role in raising money for the fight against multiple sclerosis. Sinclair’s mother Sandi has MS.
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On Monday, Derek Cornelius and Huitema were named Canadian Youth International Players of the Year. Earlier, Jacob Orellana was voted Canadian Futsal Player of the Year and Damien Wojtiw Canadian Para Soccer Player of the Year.
Goalkeeper James Pantemis was chosen winner of the Allstate Canadian National Teams Good Hands Award.
Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press