My Christine Sinclair stories — Megan Rapinoe’s career continues, and she talks about it — Must-click women’s soccer links

The IX: Soccer Monday with Annie M. Peterson, Oct. 23, 2023

Happy Soccer Monday. We all knew it was coming, but it still was a bit stunning when it actually happened. Christine Sinclair is stepping away from the Canadian national team at the end of the year.

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I know, I know, she’s 40. Let the girl ride off into the sunset! But man, I’ve just had a blast watching her and covering all these years. I’ll miss that.

I’ve told plenty of Christine Sinclair stories her over the years, but my absolute favorite story about her was regarding her speech following Canada’s loss to the United States at the 2012 London Olympics.

Just a little more than a year earlier, the Canadians had just been humiliated in the Women’s World Cup in Germany. Not a single win, and just one goal to finish last in its group.

The Canadians were despondent after losing 4-3 in the semifinals to the Americans, their arch rivals, in London. We all know what happened: Alex Morgan won it for the United States with a header in the 123rd minute. And that’s oversimplifying it, but the game isn’t the point here.

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Canada’s coach, John Herman, has told the story many times. He absolutely agonized over what he was going say to his squad, to get them back up to play in the bronze medal match.

By the time he got to the locker room, the team was in tears — and not because of the loss, but because Sinclair had spoken. After an emotional speech during which she said she was proud of all her teammates, she added that there was no way she was going home without a medal.

Canada then defeated France 1-0 for the bronze.

Whenever Herdman tells the story, he always prefaces it by saying that Sinclair is softspoken and a quiet leader. The speech, he said, was uncharacteristic at the time for Sinc, and that’s what made it so powerful.

Over the years, Sinclair got more confident in using her voice. In the past two years, she’s spoken about inequities in soccer and advocated for equal pay for her team. She even testified before the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage about Canada Soccer’s treatment of the women’s team.

While still softspoken, her testimony was powerful and included this shocking tidbit.

On a personal note I’ve never been more insulted than I was by Canada Soccer’s own president, Nick Bontis last year as we met with him to discuss our concerns. I was tasked with outlining our compensation ask on behalf of the women’s national team. The president of Canada Soccer listened to what I had to say and then later in the meeting referred back to it as ‘What was it Christine was bitching about?’

“To me this spoke volumes about the lack of respect Canada Soccer has for its women’s national team. As a a team we do not trust Canada Soccer to be open and honest as we continue to negotiate not only fair and equitable compensation and treatment but for the future of our program.”

I can’t even imagine the hubris in thinking you can speak about the greatest Canadian player of all time like this. And she is the greatest, there’s not even a debate.

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The good news is, at the end of her Instagram post, she asked “P.S. — Portland, how about one more year?” Gotta think Portland will accommodate her.

We’ll likely have four chances to see Sinc in Canada Red one last time.

There are just two international windows left this year. Canada, ranked No. 10 in the world, plays Brazil on Oct. 28 in Montreal and Oct. 31 in Halifax. In her Instagram post, Sinclair hinted that her national team journey would end where it began, in a match in Vancouver near her hometown of Burnaby.

Canada Soccer is expected to announced two matches for the window in late November and early December — likely at BC Place.

She wrote a poignant letter to her 16-year-old self on Instagram. You’ll want to read it. We all need to remember to enjoy the ride.

There was another bit of news this weekend: The Kansas City Current has named Vlatko Andonovski its new head coach. The Equalizer’s Jeff Kassouf broke the news, along with Steven Goff at the Washington Post.

The 2023 Equalizer Awards picked by staff.

Alex Morgan invited Taylor Swift to a Wave match.

Speaking of Kassouf, he looked at which playoff team has the best chances of winning the title.

Editor’s note: Also speaking of Kassouf…

An Ohio group is hoping to secure an NWSL team.

Connecticut also wants and NWSL team.

The NWSL has a new trophy! Thanks Tiffany!

Lynn Williams said Gotham wants to win for Ali Krieger.

I wrote about Ali Krieger getting to put off retirement a bit longer.

Pardeep Cattry for CBS Sports wrote about Megan Rapinoe putting off retirement a bit longer, too.

The Houston Chronicle recaps the Dash’s season.

The Orlando Sentinel recaps the Pride’s season.

Players and coaches reflect on 10 years of the NWSL

This is a shame: San Diego’s MLS team will have scheduling priority over the Wave

Julie Foudy talks about how important the NWSL’s media deal will be

Nice profile of Jaedyn Shaw

Spirit and Mark Parsons part ways.

The Equalizer’s Blair Newman writes about the 4-3-3 in the NWSL

The Athletics Katie Whyatt writes about the toll that ACL injuries take on players

College Soccer’s Top 16 has dropped.

Megan Rapinoe can’t retire yet!!!! The Reign will meet the San Diego Wave in the NWSL semifinals after a 1-0 victory over Angel City on Friday.

Oh, and hey, Ali Krieger can’t retire yet either! Gotham, which defeated North Carolina on Sunday, will play the Portland Thorns. Because of the international break, the semifinals will be played on Nov. 5.

Here’s what Rapinoe and goal-scorer Veronica Latsko said after the match.

Mondays: Soccer
By: Annie Peterson, @AnnieMPeterson, AP Women’s Soccer
Tuesdays: Tennis
By: Joey Dillon, @JoeyDillon, Freelance Tennis Writer
Wednesdays: Basketball
By: Howard Megdal, @HowardMegdal, The Next
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Written by Annie Peterson