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

Word on the Street: Festivalgoers at the 27th annual Salmon Arm Roots and Blues

The Observer asked: Where are you from and what brought you to the festival?

New Penticton/Kelowna transit route ready to roll out

Route 70 Penticton/Kelowna will provide a direct trip to Kelowna from Penticton and Summerland

The Offspring and Sum41 ready to rock Penticton

The Offspring and Sum 41 will stop in Penticton to the South Okanagan Events Centre

Motorcyclist involved in Westside Road crash

Air ambulance assists while motorists face lengthy delays

Summerland cannabis shop receives approval in principle

Inspection now required before Green Gaia may sell cannabis

VIDEO: Could we BE any more excited? ‘Friends’ fans go crazy for merch

Movie theatres will show select episodes to mark the NBC series’ 25th anniversary

Penticton man sentenced in non-fatal 2017 shooting

Elkena Michael Knauff sentenced to seven and a half months in jail

Bodies of two missing Surrey men found near Ashcroft

Ryan Provencher and Richard Scurr have been missing since July 17

Kamloops RCMP locate and arrest man who fled from police

The 22-year-old male was wanted in relation to a domestic violence investigation

Five hedgehogs quickly adopted after being left at BC SPCA

Lucky new owners picked up their pets from Maple Ridge branch on Aug. 20

COLUMN: Much to enjoy at Ryga Arts Festival

As I learn about George Ryga and his contributions, it is clear why this festival carries his name

Okanagan RCMP superintendent helps with arrest

Vernon Supt. Shawna Baher arrests man for theft; turns out to be suspect in assault and robbery

Kelowna man arrested after allegedly setting blaze near Fire Department

The man was allegedly seen lighting bushes on fire near the Kelowna Fire Department

Most Read