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Canada's GOAT, Christine Sinclair, is retiring. These are just some of her accomplishments

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Christine Sinclair will be hanging up her Canadian jersey for the last time in front of a huge crowd in Vancouver tonight.

The Canadian soccer legend brought world recognition to women's sports and helped Canada earn three Olympic medals. She is the top international goal scorer in the world, including both men and women, with 190 international goals.

"I think that Canada really is a hockey country, but Christine Sinclair has changed that," Ellen Hyslop, co-found of The Gist, a Canadian online sports publication, told CTV's Your Morning on Tuesday. "She has changed the number of girls that play sports, boys that play soccer (and) the amount of people that are fans of the Canadian Women's National Team."

A few months ago, Sinclair announced her retirement from international soccer, meaning she will continue playing with her National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) team, the Portland Thorns, this season.

However, it means Sinclair will no longer wear the Canadian jersey, ending a major era for fans watching her compete for the country.

Sinclair's last game with Canada is against Australia at 7 p.m. PST at Vancouver's B.C. Place — renamed Christine Sinclair Place ahead of the match.

Canada's national women's soccer team captain Christine Sinclair, left, and Sophie Schmidt who are both scheduled to play their final international match on Tuesday, walk onto the field for training in Vancouver, on Monday, December 4, 2023. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)

Along with Sinclair, teammate Sophie Schmidt will also be retiring at the game. Veteran goalkeeper Erin McLeod, who announced her retirement in January, will also be honoured on Tuesday.

The game will mark Sinclair's 331st international game, a streak she started when she joined Canada's under-18 national team at 16 years old.

SINCLAIR'S RISE WITH CANADA

During her first game with the young team, "newcomer" Sinclair scored Canada's only goal to beat the Metro League All-Stars in 2000, the Canada Soccer website reads.

This was the first national camp of the year and Coach Even Pellerud's first game with the team.

And it didn't stop there.

Sinclair continued to help her team compete on the world stage by scoring seven goals, at the age of 18, in the 2002 CONCACAF Women's Gold Cup. Canada ultimately lost in the final to the U.S.

Later that same year she competed in the FIFA U-19 Women's World Championship, scoring 10 goals in the tournament and earning the Golden Boot and the Golden Ball.

Canada's Christine Sinclair hoists the Golden Boot award for top scorer at the end of the FIFA U19 Womens World championship final in Edmonton, Sunday September 1, 2002. (CP PHOTO/Adrian Wyld)

Her Olympic career with Team Canada started in Beijing in 2008, where Canada finished 8th.

Sinclair captained her first Olympic games in 2012 at the age of 28 and led the team to its first-ever podium finish.

At the London 2012 Olympic games, Sinclair was the leading goal scorer with six of the team's 12 goals, including a hattrick in a "controversial" game against the United States, the Canadian Olympic website reads.

"Christine Sinclair has this quiet confidence, she leads by example," Hyslop said. "But at the same time, when she gets on the pitch, she is a beast."

Her efforts led her to be named the 2012 Closing Ceremony flag bearer and being given the Lou Marsh Award as the Canadian Athlete of the Year, according to the Canadian Olympic website, becoming the first soccer player to achieve this accomplishment.

In 2016, Sinclair was back at the Olympics, this time in Rio, beating Brazil and bringing Canada to another third-place finish.

After two third-place positions, the team vowed that at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games they would "change the colour" of the medal.

During the tournament, Sinclair scored her 187th international goal in her 300th game in the opening match. She was a presence on the field during Canada's quarterfinal against Brazil, which the team clinched in a penalty shootout.

Against Sweden, Sinclair played the first 86 minutes in the gold medal game before cheering her teammates on in a penalty shootout where Canada won its first women's Olympic gold medal in soccer.

The FIFA Women's World Cup in 2022 was Sinclair's last international tournament for Canada where the team was knocked out in the group stage.

Despite Sinclair no longer playing in international games, Hyslop said, the athlete is still involved in soccer and in numerous charities and organizations including Project 8, a women's professional soccer league in Canada.

"This really does feel like it's not goodbye, it's see you later," Hyslop said. 

SINCLAIR'S IMPACT ON WOMEN IN SPORTS

As for what is next, only Sinclair herself can answer the question, but hopeful fans like Alison Spitzer predict it could be more time investing in what she cares about.

"I am fairly confident to think Christine is not done, and we're really excited to see what is going to be next for her," Spitzer, Canadian Women & Sport's director of finance and operations, told CTVNews.ca in an interview.

Pointing to other Canadian soccer greats like Diana Matheson and Karina LeBlanc, Spitzer said the women continue to push the boundaries even after retirement.

"There are lots of alumni that are still pushing the game that are still pushing these barriers, and we know that having strong female role models, not just on the field, but beyond that, as entrepreneurs like Diana, and as general managers like Karina. … Where Christine will land in her second career — who knows — but we're definitely cheering her on."

The battle to make women's sports equitable in Canada and the world continues, even with some progress being made over the last several years.

Canadian soccer star Christine Sinclair autographs a fan's ball at a World Cup watch party in Toronto on Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2022. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Arlyn McAdorey)

Spitzer and Canadian Women & Sport are "hopeful" the momentum behind Sinclair will help.

According to reports by the organization, young girls and women are still disproportionately dropping out of sports. Factors like a lack of opportunities to play, female coaches and financial challenges impact how they interact with sports.

Sports in Canada are also often not a career consideration due to the unequal pay women face in the industry and few opportunities to play professional sports.

"They don't always necessarily get to retire on millions and look at their trophies along the wall," Spitzer said. "They're still fighting, they still need to work and they're still pushing for those same opportunities and rights that are that are afforded to men."

Throughout her sports career, Sinclair has embodied a "quiet confidence" that has resonated with many women and girls, Spitzer said.

"When she does talk and speak up, people listen, because it doesn't necessarily happen all the time, but when she does, it packs a punch," she said. "And she lives it every day, in the career choices that she's made, in the organizations that she supports, she's extremely passionate about leaving a legacy and supporting women and girls." 

Correction

A previous version of this article incorrectly referred to Canadian Women & Sport as a foundation.

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