The Canadian Olympic Women’s Soccer team has a very different look ahead of the Tokyo games when compared to the previous two Games. But while the roster is filled with new faces, the matriarch remains: Christine Sinclair. The Thorns’ striker is set to take part in her fourth Olympics as she chases her third Olympic medal. But at 38, what impact can the face of Canadian soccer have in Japan?
On the Scoresheet
As the all-time leading international goal-scorer, it comes as no surprise that Sinclair’s biggest impact will most likely be on the scoresheet. A born striker, the Burnaby BC native has 186 goals for her country in 299 appearances. This area of her game will be pivotal to a Canadian side that has struggled immensely to find the back of the net. In their last 10 matches, the Canadian Women’s National Team has scored just seven goals. Worth noting is that Sinclair hasn’t scored any of those seven, but two of the scorers (Matheson and Stratigakis) will not be in Tokyo.
It would be rather easy to take Sinclair’s dry-spell as a cause for concern and a sign that maybe her days as a starter should be numbered. While there may be some validity to these concerns, Sinclair’s value in making those around her better can’t be understated. With the young contingent of strikers around her, Sinclair’s soccer IQ can quickly turn a defensive clearance attempt into a scoring chance for a teammate.
Sinclair’s track record would suggest that she’s due for a couple goals at these Olympics, and those could be goals that make all the difference to Canada’s medal hopes.
In the Locker Room
She’s never played in Europe, never won an Olympics or a World Cup, but Sinclair carries a pedigree with her that is all but foreign to Canadian soccer. It’s a pedigree not necessarily shaped by accolades or glittering trophies, but one moulded in grit, determination, and above all, humbleness, the undeniable hallmark of Canadian athletics.
Sinclair has never been the vocal leader that one would associate with being the face of a national team yet her captaincy has never been up for debate. She leads by example in every sense of the word and has the wealth of experience necessary to continue that trend through these games. In a room full of young guns and players who are fresh faces to the Olympics, Sinclair will be the lighthouse asked to guide this team through whatever obstacles pop up in their path. In this way, her impact may not be able to be quantified or measured, but it will be felt by fans at home if they’re able to watch this Canadian side play calmly throughout the Games.
There are multiple ways in which Sinclair will impact this edition of the CWNT, some will be easily perceptible and some won’t, some are guaranteed some aren’t, but what is for sure is that Canadian fans will be lucky enough to watch the greatest international goal scorer lace up in the red and white for at least three more games. What do you think Sinclair’s biggest impact will be? Let us know on Twitter!
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