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

Just Posted

B.C. Lions hype-man marks 15 years of cheers

Crazy P cheers, chants, bangs his drum and spreads a message of love

Saanich Peninsula Hospital Foundation looks to grow funding for memory garden

Foundation will start new campaign next month as it wraps up recruitment campaign

Survey says 27% of Victoria employers look to hire this quarter

Another 13 % of employers anticipate cutbacks

UPDATED: Heavy police presence in Victoria had part of Bay Street blocked off

Bay Street east of Quadra Street was blocked off on Saturday

VIDEO: Grizzly bears fight along northern B.C. highway in rare footage

Cari McGillivray posted the head-turning video, shot near Stewart, B.C., to social media

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

B.C. woman photographs massive ant swarm on Abbotsford driveway

She asked what the ants were doing? The answer: war

Iconic 90s TV show ‘Friends’ celebrates 25th anniversary

The iconic, decade-long television show aired its first episode 25 years ago today

Police arrest B.C. phone scammer linked to illegal call centres in India

Person arrested in Burnaby here on a work visa, says police

Air Canada forced girl, 12, to remove hijab: civil rights group

The San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations calling for change

Man from Winnipeg who was hiking alone found dead in Banff National Park

RCMP say the man was hiking alone on Mount Temple Thursday

Resident finds loaded shotgun inside a duffle bag in Kelowna alleyway

RCMP seized a loaded 12-gauge shotgun, ammunition, clothing and other items

Most Read