Canada’s Christine Sinclair (left) and Costa Rica’s Shirley Cruz chase a through ball during first half international women’s soccer action in Toronto on Sunday, June 11, 2017. On the eve of the Women’s World Cup, Canada captain Christine Sinclair is sounding the call for women’s pro soccer in Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

Christine Sinclair sounds call for women’s professional soccer in Canada

Sinclair has made a career of growing the sport of women’s soccer and she’s not finished yet

On the eve of the Women’s World Cup, Canada captain Christine Sinclair is sounding the call for women’s pro soccer in Canada.

Sinclair has made a career of growing the sport of women’s soccer and she’s not finished yet.

“When I first joined the national team, no one cared, no one paid attention. You couldn’t make a career playing the sport unless you were on the U.S. team,” Sinclair said in an interview Thursday. “So I’m proud to be a part of the change.

“But there’s still so much to be done … Our sport just needs the opportunities. People will watch, people will pay to come see it. But we just need the opportunities, especially here in Canada. I’m not going to lie, it’s sad to me that we don’t have any professional teams or a professional league here.

READ MORE: Whitecaps owners apologize, promise review on allegations against B.C. coach

“Whereas on the men’s side they have MLS and now the new professional league (the Canadian Premier League). For young girls there’s nothing.”

It’s a passion for the 35-year-old from Burnaby, B.C., who played for the Vancouver Breakers and Whitecaps before moving south of the border in 2009 to star for FC Gold Pride, Western New York Flash and, since 2013, the Portland Thorns of the National Women’s Soccer League.

“We continue to be one of the powers in women’s soccer yet we’re probably the only top-12 team that doesn’t have a professional system. That disappoints me,” said Sinclair.

While the star forward said she does not have all the answers on bringing women’s pro soccer to Canada, “it needs to happen — sooner than later.”

Now in its fourth season, the NWSL has nine teams — all in the U.S.

“To me it just doesn’t make sense that we couldn’t have one or two teams in the NWSL from Canada … We have players forced to leave Canada to go find a place to play which doesn’t sit well with me,” Sinclair told a news conference after training Thursday.

The Canadian women, currently ranked fifth in the world, host No. 26 Mexico on Saturday at BMO Field in their farewell match before leaving for the World Cup in France.

Canada opens June 10 against No. 46 Cameroon in Montpellier.

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ninja groups could be setting children up for identity theft, online safety expert says

‘When I started seeing entry codes into secure buildings, I’m thinking oh my God, what are we doing?’

Federal government tenders remediation of Sidney’s Reay Creek pond

With tendering deadline of June 12, Transport Canada admits project is behind schedule

Close call has North Saanich councillor appealing for traffic safety

Coun. Jack McClintock is using an incident involving his daughter to highlight traffic safety

Saanich Peninsula steps into post-pandemic phase

Pending partial re-opening of local schools signals new start

Craft vendors allowed to re-join Goldstream Farmers Market

Dr. Bonnie Henry lightens restrictions, approves non-food items to be sold

VIDEO: Injured bald eagle rescued in B.C. First Nations community

Bird suspected injured in fight, whisked off to Coquitlam rehab

Toronto Raptors’ Ujiri says conversations about racism can no longer be avoided

Thousands have protested Floyd’s death and repeated police killings of black men across the United States

‘I’m afraid’: Witnesses of wolf attack on senior near Prince Rupert worried about safety

Frank Russ shows where the unprovoked wolf attacked his father

Protesters prepare to rally against racism in front of Vancouver Art Gallery

Rally is in response to the deaths of black Americans and a Toronto woman

Man dies in ATV accident south of Nanaimo

Incident happened on backroad Friday night in Nanaimo Lakes area

Protesters rally against anti-black, Indigenous racism in Toronto

Police estimated the crowd to be between 3,500 and 4,000 and said there was no violence

Feds earmark $1.5M to support recovery of B.C., Indigenous tourism

B.C. money will be split between Vancouver Island and Indigenous tourism

‘We’re sick of it’: Anger over police killings shatters U.S.

Tens of thousands marched to protest the death of George Floyd

Most Read