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

Experience automotive classics and more at the Vancouver Island Concours d’Elegance

Motorcar Weekend features Show and Shine, high-end Concours division, all for a great cause

Boom & Bust: a history of the resilient women of Telegraph Cove

Author spends four years tracking down women to write about their experiences.

Art Gallery of Greater Victoria sees delays in expansion

Rising construction costs prompt AGGV to look at different design and funding options

Tofino douses Atleo Air firefighting heroes with support

Community says thanks after chopper volunteers extinguish remote brush fire

Mitchell’s Musings: Time flies faster in new millenium

Like Steve Miller before him, columnist feels time keeps on slipping, slipping, slipping

70 years of lifting: Canadian man, 85, could cinch weightlifting championship

The senior gym junkie is on track to win the World Masters Weightlifting championship

Advocates ‘internationalize’ the fight to free Raif Badawi from Saudi prison

Raif Badawi was arrested on June 17, 2012, and was later sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for his online criticism of Saudi clerics

RCMP, search crews hunt for 4-year-old boy missing near Mackenzie

George went missing early Saturday afternoon

Canadian entrepreneurs turning beer byproduct into bread, cookies and profits

Some breweries turn to entrepreneurs looking to turn spent grain into treats for people and their pets

Canada ‘disappointed’ terror suspect’s British citizenship revoked

Jack Letts, who was dubbed “Jihadi Jack” by the U.K. media, has been detained in a Kurdish prison for about two years

Chrystia Freeland condemns violence in Hong Kong, backs right to peaceful assembly

There have been months of protests in the semi-autonomous region

B.C. VIEWS: Log exports and my other errors so far in 2019

Plastic bags, legislature overspending turn out differently

‘It’s just the freedom:’ Paralyzed Broncos player pursuing life on the water

The former Humboldt Broncos goaltender, who started in the net when he was nine, was paralyzed last year

Most Read