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

UPDATE: One woman taken away on stretcher after three-vehicle collision at Maclure and Clearbrook Road intersection

Abbotsford emergency crews are on scene but traffic is slow eastbound on Maclure

VIDEO: Looking back at the 1968 Abbotsford International Airshow

Footage from the past show available to view online

Missing man last seen in Chilliwack Sept. 7

Friends concerned for well-being of 44-year-old Jean Pierre Baril

Abbotsford hospital has ‘extraordinary’ challenges, says health minister as ER construction nears

Construction to begin this fall on expanded emergency department at Abbotsford Regional Hospital

Federal party leaders address gun violence after weekend shooting near Toronto

One teen was killed and five people injured in the shooting

VIDEO: Vancouver Island mayor details emergency response after fatal bus crash

Sharie Minions says she is ‘appalled’ by condition of road where bus crashed

Conservatives promise tax cut that they say will address Liberal increases

Scheer says the cut would apply to the lowest income bracket

B.C. VIEWS: Cutting wood waste produces some bleeding

Value-added industry slowly grows as big sawmills close

Pedestrian struck and killed by vehicle in Surrey

Investigators were asking anyone who witnessed the incident to come forward

Fewer trees, higher costs blamed for devastating downturn in B.C. forestry

Some say the high cost of logs is the major cause of the industry’s decline in B.C.

Federal food safety watchdog says batch of baby formula recalled

The agency says it’s conducting a food safety investigation

Most Read