Christine Sinclair has been a major driving force in growing women’s soccer in Canada, and she’s not done yet.
During an appearance on The Starting Lineup on Wednesday, the longtime Team Canada captain pointed to what she believes should be the next move in growing Canadian soccer: creating a professional destination for women’s soccer north of the border.
“I think that’s the next step that needs to happen for this sport in Canada,” Sinclair said Wednesday. “I think, of the top-12 ranked teams in the world we’re the only one that doesn’t have a professional environment for their players to play in. And if we’re going to keep up with the rest of the world, we need to be doing the same as them.”
Like many of her Team Canada teammates, Sinclair plays professionally in the U.S. with the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL).
“Whether it’s Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, we need to have a professional environment for the women to play,” Sinclair, who plays for Portland Thorns FC. “Whether that’s attached to MLS teams, who knows? Now that the men have a new professional league across Canada, that would be amazing. For me, it’s unacceptable that there’s nowhere for women to play.”
Sinclair’s pro club, Portland Thorns FC, is affiliated with the MLS club Portland Timbers under the same ownership — a model she believes would be “a good place to start” for integrating professional women’s soccer into more cities.
“I like to think that the women’s product could stand alone and survive on its own. But that being said, I come from a professional team that is affiliated with an MLS team and I think that makes logical sense,” she said. “It seems like a good place to start if you’re going to start a women’s team, you already have the foundation with an organization so that seems like the logical place to start.”