The world hails record-setting Sinclair

Canada's Christine Sinclair celebrates her world record-breaking goal in the 2020 Concacaf Women's Olympic qualifier against St Kitts. and Nevis.
© Concacaf
  • Christine Sinclair has become international football’s 185-goal leading scorer
  • Abby Wambach, whose record she stole, paid a moving tribute
  • Justin Trudeau, John Herdman and FIFA President Gianni Infantino have also paid homage

She’s done it! Christine Sinclair is the leading scorer in international football history.

Twenty years and eight months had passed with an American boasting the distinction – first Mia Hamm and, since 2013, Abby Wambach. However, Sinclair found the bottom corner from the penalty spot against St. Kitts and Nevis to tie the latter’s record, before a predatory goal moved her into outright sovereignty on 185 goals.

“Before the game Dri [Adriana Leon] told me she’s got me,” Sinclair said. “She saw me, crossed it perfectly, and all I could think was ‘Don’t miss the net’. I feel relief that it’s out of the way in the opening game.”

Sinclair may be habitually modest, but the rest of the world was on hand to shower her in the plaudits she thoroughly deserves. And Wambach, in a movingly gracious gesture to a Canadian that had stolen her distinction, was one of the first to post her congratulations.

Player Country Goals Caps Ratio
Christine Sinclair Canada 185 289 0.64
Abby Wambach USA 184 256 0.72
Mia Hamm USA 158 275 0.57
Kristine Lilly USA 130 352 0.37
Birgit Prinz Germany 128 214 0.60

FIFA President Gianni Infantino sent a letter to Sinclair saluting the Canadian striker after the match. “My warmest congratulations on this historical and exceptional accomplishment," he said. "It could only be achieved thanks to your tremendous commitment, exemplary motivation, hard work and incredible passion for our beautiful game.

"Your human qualities and skills, not to mention your remarkable contribution to the popularity and growth of women's football, or soccer, deserve our admiration."

“She’s an amazing human being,” John Herdman, who coached Sinclair for seven years, told of her. “She could and should be a multi-millionaire, but she never asked for a penny more than her team-mates. She’s always put her team, her country first. You don’t meet many people like that in your life.

“She’s 36, she’s still playing at the highest level, still scoring goals. After 2015, she was written off by some people, but there she was, in front of 70,000 Brazilians in Rio, doing what Sinclair does: in the six-yard box, scoring the goal that got us another medal. A unique player.

“If you come to this country, there’s one woman that everyone knows: it’s Christine Sinclair. It was an absolute gift in my life to have the chance to work with her.”


years had passed since Canada won a medal at a traditional team sport – they seized silver at basketball at Berlin 1936 – until Sinclair, who finished as the leading markswomen, inspired them to bronze at London 2012. Four years later she scored the goal that sunk Brazil in the third-place playoff at Rio 2016.


Canadian Soccer Player of the Year awards is what Sinclair has captured. Four-time recipient Charmaine Hooper is the only other female to have won it more than twice.


goals is what the Burnaby native netted at Canada 2002 – a record for a FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup™ she shares with Germany’s Alexandra Popp (2010). As well as the adidas Golden Boot, Sinclair won that competition’s adidas Golden Ball as her country finished runners-up to USA.


FIFA Women’s World Cups™ is what Sinclair and Marta are the only players to have scored in.


Women's World Cups is what Sinclair is the only player to have worn the armband in. She captained Canada at China 2007 at the age of 24.

Did You Know?

  • Sinclair has worn the No12 jersey since childhood. She chose it because, as a promising baseball player, she idolised the Toronto Blue Jays’ Roberto Alomar.
  • Sinclair was studying biology in the hope of becoming a physical therapist when she was reluctantly persuaded to give it up to pursue a career as a footballer.
  • The forward habitually listens to Man in the Mirror by Michael Jackson to psyche herself up for matches.

Christine Sinclair, thank you for two decades of greatness and humility.

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