FIFA Best day started, ended with Christine Sinclair — Hear from Sinclair — Must-click woso links

The IX: Soccer Monday with Annie M. Peterson, January 17, 2022

The FIFA Best awards were announced this morning! Truly putting a bow on the 2021 international season. Christine Sinclair was given a special achievement award at the top of the ceremony for her career and setting the all-time goals scored record.

FIFA brought in fellow Canadian Steve Nash to congratulate Sinclair.

Christiane Endler won Goalkeeper of the Year. The other finalists were Sephanie Labbe and Ann-Katrin Berger.

Emma Hayes appeared truly surprised that she won Coach of the Year honors.

Spain’s Alexia Putellas wins Best Player of the Year Honors. Also won Ballon d’Or. Congrats to her. Awesome player! I had my fave, but this is good, too.

And finally, the FIFPro Best XI for 2021.

None of the Best Players finalists were named to the list. Head scratcher!

Where’s Sam? Oh wait, she’s not here.

Goalkeeper:

Christiane Endler (Paris Saint-Germain/Olympique Lyonnais, Chile)

Defenders:

Lucy Bronze (Manchester City FC, England)

Millie Bright (Chelsea FC, England)

Magdalena Eriksson (Chelsea FC, Sweden)

Wendie Renard (Olympique Lyonnais, France)

Midfielders:

Estefania Banini (Levante UD/Atletico Madrid, Argentina)

Barbara Bonansea (Juventus FC, Italy)

Carli Lloyd (NJ/NY Gotham FC, USA)

Forwards:

Marta (Orlando Pride, Brazil)

Vivianne Miedema (Arsenal FC, The Netherlands)

Alex Morgan (Tottenham Hotspur/Orlando Pride/San Diego Wave, USA)

Heather O’Reilly pointed out the issue here:

But probably the best comment on the list came from Labbe:

And with that, we look forward to seeing 2022’s best.



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LINKS

Before you reade any of the links below, please read this one from Caitlin Murray of ESPN. It’s about what’s going on in Portland with supporters and the dissatisfaction over the team’s handling of the investigation into Paul Riley’s tenure and dismissal from the club. UCLA’s Mia Fishel heads to Liga MX club Tigres instead of the NWSL, from Soccer America.

The Athletic’s story on the USWNT January camp roster.

My story on the January camp roster!

Cool news of the week: Lindsay Barenz lands with the Oakland Roots.

Front Row Soccer on Michelle Betos heading home.

The Nashville Post on the city’s possible support for a NWSL or WNBA team.

USA Today on Trinity Rodman joining national team camp.

Sandra Herrera for CBS Sports examines the KC Current’s busy offseason.

USF Oracle recounts the Sydny Nasello situation.

Kasnas City Star’s story on new Current coach Matt Potter.

Meredith Cash from the Insider wrote about the USWNT heading toward the World Cup.

The Athletic says Kang takes over majority interest in the Spirit.

Beth Wilkinson is helping the Spirit investors navigate the process.

This from Molly:


Five at The IX: Christine Sinclair

Here’s what she said. Oh and Priestman and LeBlanc added a few words. Note the last quote: She’s not done. Oh, and I didn’t include it, but someone asked her about NFTs and she was like “I’m sorry, I don’t know what that is.” It was great.

Bev Preistman: I guess I just want to say on behalf of the women’s national team, the staff, the players and probably the rest of the country, really, to say a big congratulations. Obviously well deserved. I think it represents the past, the present and where we’ve just been, but also I think the future. You’ve still got life in you yet and I can’t wait for the for the World Cup coming up to keep adding to what is an incredible career of yours. So on behalf of the women’s national team, I just want to say a big congratulations. We’re really proud of you and first ever special FIFA award.


Karina LeBlanc: So I guess I’ll continue on the embarrassment of Sinclair. Putting on this the general manager hat of the Thorns, I think is a club we’ve had the honor of having you suit up for your career here and you’ve inspired the community. You’ve inspired Canadians. Speaking as a former teammate of yours, every single day in the locker room, you made us better. I think it’s a testament not only to what people see you doing and scoring goals but who you are as a human being, who you are as leader and how humble you are. And I think that’s why Canadians just absolutely love you, because they see you and they feel like they want to be a better version of themselves because every single day you’re a class acts. So on behalf of every former teammate of yours, thank you for helping us all be better human beings. And behalf of the Portland Thorns, thank you in helping us be a club that gets to celebrate you and on behalf as a Canadian, thank you for inspiring us all. So that’s it. I will go along and just embarrass you more but I’ll end it there.


Question: I know today’s an individual award but you have always been so much about the team. You’ve had some time off over the holidays. How does that gold medal sit? with you a few months later now?
Sinclair: I mean, it still feels like just yesterday. We were celebrating on the pitch after Julia scored and just that feeling is something that you can never duplicate and replicate. I’ve been on this team for quite a few years and I’ve grown up on this national team. I’ve played with some of my best friends. We’ve grinded out. We’ve experienced like the lowest of lows together and the highest of highs together and to finally reach that to reach the pinnacle of your sport, to stand on the top of the podium with some of your best friends. singing Oh, Canada, it’s just something obviously I’ll never forget and it’s something that no one can take away from us. It’s something we achieved to be the first Canadian team on the top of the podium. There had to be a first and now hopefully we can just continue on.

Question: When you’re honored today by you know, another individual award, but one that’s literally called the best.’ How does that feel? Do you look back at your entire journey and maybe you can tell you what does it feel to to be among the very best? Sinclair: Like you said, I’ve never played the sport for the goals. I’ve never played the sport for individual awards. I’ve actually never played the sport for team awards, either. I just love the sport. I love the concept of it. I love the figuring out with your teammates how to exploit weaknesses of opponents, how to use your strengths. Like it fascinates me. I discovered soccer at a very young age, and I was very passionate about it. You couldn’t get a soccer ball away from me since I was like four. This is something that I’m sure when my career’s done, I’ll look back on this, this recognition, and be like `That was pretty cool,’ but I think it just goes to show that the progress that our national team has made, our program has made you know the growth of the NWSL and the growth of women’s football. And to be honored as the first. Yeah, even makes it that much more special.

Question: I know you’ve never been big on the individual accolades but wondering just how you feel now finally getting some recognition from FIFA?


Sinclair: I mean, obviously, I’m incredibly grateful for this award. I think it goes to show the longevity and the like impact I’ve had over the years. But yeah, I do think that the FIFA awards have come under, rightfully, some scrutiny. I’ve been out training since my award was announced. So I just was able to quickly see the awards given out today and it’s especially on the women’s side that I don’t understand some of the names the FIFA 11. The sheer fact that Bev was not a finalist to me. If a national team coach was going to be a finalist, it would only make sense that the gold-medal winning coach would be one, and then someone like a Steph Labbe, yeah, I think she was robbed as well. But I think you know, the women’s game is growing, it’s growing in like it’s recognition around the world but I think a day like today goes to show that there’s a lot of work that still needs to be done on women’s side of the game.

Question: (Points to Sinclair’s honors) Can you can you can you just sum it up for us Christine, just you know, just in regards to where this compares.

Sinclair: It’s up there. The gold medal, I believe, for me still tops everything that I’ve achieved in my career. Just because it’s something that I’ve been striving for since I was that 4-year old girl learning to kick a soccer ball around. Obviously this is the first time this awards ever been handed out. But this isn’t the goal. Being recognized by FIFA is never the goal. It’s an incredible honor. One that I’m very grateful for but it’s a team sport and Team Canada, last summer, that’s the pinnacle. As of right now.

Question: Why do you think they spotlight has never been on you?

Sinclair: I think it’s just my personality. And unless I really know you, I’m pretty shy and I’m an introvert. I think it’s also how I how I was raised, my family was wins and victories never get to high, and losses and defeats never get too low. We’re a pretty even keel family. And also I have an older brother that never let my head get too big. So I’ve got him to thank for that I think too.

Question: You spoke in the ceremony about moments and connections you’ve made mattering the most. I was wondering if you just had a few moments you could share?

Sinclair: I think the first one that jumps out is being able to experience a home World Cup in 2015 and very few players get that opportunity you know to play in front of all their friends and family in the biggest tournament. So that was a very special ride for myself and all my teammates. I think back also the first time stepping on an Olympic podium in London, and just the drama that went with that. Just landing on a podium when no one thought we were going to be able to do that. Just as the Canadian national team, for the longest time we’ve always been the underdogs and punching above our weight and so in those moments where you get a result that a lot of people didn’t think you’d get, those are the ones that stick out for me.

Question: It’s my understanding you’re you’re committed to play another two years for at least for Portland and Canada. Can you talk about that?

Sinclair: Bev and I, we had an honest conversation last year after the Olympics, and I told her if I’m healthy, and that’s the key, obviously, staying healthy, if I’m healthy. I want to keep going if the national team still needs me, if Portland still needs me. We’re gonna take it year by year, camp by camp, month by month, but I know I can still contribute greatly to both teams and have an impact. This is one of those occupations that when you’re done, you’re done. When you’re 55, or whatever, you can’t come back and play on your national team or professionally. So a lot of people have told me to just keep going, you deserve to still play, you deserve to be on the national team and play professionally. So why would you stop? So I’m not going to stop yet.

Written by Annie Peterson