PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland Thorns FC captain and all-time international goal-scoring leader Christine Sinclair was honored with The Best – FIFA Special Award for breaking the women’s international football goal-scoring record as part of The Best FIFA Football Awards 2021 show in a live and online ceremony from Zurich, Switzerland today.
“Throughout my career, I have been fortunate to experience many successes from winning trophies internationally and at club level and accepting individual awards. What matters are all the moments that I have shared and the connections that I have made,” said Christine Sinclair. “Being the first female to win this award is an incredible honor. I hope it inspires young girls around the world to chase their dreams and lets them know that anything is possible.”
A member of Thorns FC since the club’s inaugural NWSL season in 2013, the 2022 campaign will mark Sinclair’s 10th in Portland. She is the club’s all-time leader in games played (143), games started (140), minutes played (12,404) and goals scored (54). In the NWSL, she is one of just two players to score a goal in every year of the league and currently ranks third all-time in goals scored, seventh in games started, eighth in minutes played and ninth in games played in league history.
“There are not enough honors and awards in the world for Christine Sinclair,” said Thorns FC owner and CEO Merritt Paulson. “She is the best of the best and there never has been a more unassuming superstar. It is a privilege to call her a Thorn, and we are blessed to have her at this club.”
During her tenure with Thorns FC, Sinclair has helped the club win two NWSL Championships (2013, 2017), two NWSL Shields (2016, 2021), the NWSL Fall Series (2020), the NWSL Challenge Cup (2021) and the Women’s International Champions Cup (2021). Individually, she is a two-time NWSL Best XI Second Team selection (2013, 2018), was Portland’s Most Valuable Player in 2013, the club’s 2017 Golden Boot award recipient, and the Supporters’ Player of the Year in 2018.
“To say I’m proud of Christine is an understatement. She continues to make her mark and I am happy that the football world recognizes her for the greatness we have always seen in her,” Portland Thorns FC general manager Karina LeBlanc shared. “She is a truly humble human being, a great team leader, a phenomenal player and most importantly an incredible person whose legacy has already made a long-lasting impact in Portland.”
Sinclair is the world's all-time leading international goal scorer for men or women with 188 goals. Sinclair scored her record-breaking 185th international goal in competition on January 29, 2020. Entering her 23rd international season, Sinclair has participated in five FIFA Women’s World Cups (2003, 2007, 2011, 2015, 2019), led Canada to a Concacaf Championship in 2010, and has medaled in three Olympic Games, capturing two bronze medals (2012, 2016) and Canada’s first gold medal last summer in the Tokyo 2020 Games. She made her 300th international appearance on July 21, 2021, against Japan, becoming the fourth player in history to reach that benchmark. The Burnaby, BC native is a 14-time winner of Canada’s Soccer Player of the Year Award and Canada’s Player of the Decade from 2010-2019.
"Sinc has been a stalwart of the game for the past two decades. Because of her incredible longevity and level of play, we often forget what a privilege it is to watch her,” said Thorns FC head coach Rhian Wilkinson. “She has played a major role in bringing Canadian women’s soccer to the very pinnacle of the game by winning gold in last year's Olympics. In that same vein, she has played an equally important role in creating stability and consistency in the NWSL, playing a huge role in creating the best women's league in the world. An icon of the game who is valued by all that know her, not just because of what she delivers on the field, but because she is a kind and humble woman off of it. All that know her are the better for it."
Sinclair has been shortlisted for the FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year on numerous occasions, including for 2021. In 2012, she won the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada's athlete of the year, and the Bobbie Rosenfeld Award as Canada's female athlete of the year. In September 2013, Sinclair was inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame and in June 2017, she was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada by Governor General David Johnston.
Before her time in the NWSL, Sinclair won the Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) Championship with FC Gold Pride (2010) and the Western New York Flash (2011). A standout at the University of Portland, she helped her team win two NCAA D1 championships (2002, 2005) and earned two M.A.C Hermann Trophies (2004, 2005).