Christine Sinclair opens up during fundraising evening for her fledgling foundation

VANCOUVER — Christine Sinclair did a little dishing Wednesday.

Back at B.C. Place Stadium, one day after her final international outing for Canada, the notoriously private soccer star opened up under questioning from former Canada goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé in a "fireside chat" during a fundraising evening for the fledgling Christine Sinclair Foundation.

Sinclair's favourite drink? Coffee (espresso).

Her favourite adult beverage? Gin and tonic.

Her nicest goal? The 40-year-old from Burnaby, B.C., chose a long-distance shot against Brazil in December 2010.

Taking a layoff from Melissa Tancredi, Sinclair curled a shot from outside the penalty box into the far corner of the Brazilian goal to earn Canada a 2-2 tie in Sao Paulo.

"A left-footed banger," said Labbé.

"Sometimes it happens," replied Sinclair, who joked the goal was so long ago it was shown in black and white.

"But that took no skill because I was just so tired," she added. "I was like 'I don't want to dribble so I'm just going to one-time this and hope it goes in.''"

Her most skilful goal? Sinclair pointed to an acrobatic strike against Costa Rica in February 2016 in Houston in the semifinal of the CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying Championship.

With her back to goal just inside the penalty box, she pulled down a Costa Rican clearance, popped it into the air with her right foot — like a setter in volleyball — before swivelling and firing a left-footed looping shot into the goal.

"In terms of skill I'll say the one against Costa Rica, the little dink and then volley … That was a good one."

Sinclair scored twice that day — goals No. 160 and 161 — to help Canada qualify for the Rio Olympics.

Favourite goal emotionally/impact-wise? "I didn't score it," said Sinclair, choosing Diana Matheson's bronze medal-winning goal at the 2012 London Olympics.

"In terms of impact, That's got to be up there," she said.

Favourite place visited through sport? "Getting to go South Korea, Japan … That was amazing. Great food."

Greatest athletes she's met? "The Canadian in me wants to say Wayne Gretzky. But I've got to go with (Lionel) Messi. Sorry."

Favourite Olympic Village memory? Sinclair pointed to Tokyo after the gold medal win. "We lost Sophie Schmidt in the Village. I'm not sure how. We weren't allowed out. And I think Melissa Tancredi ended up in a fountain."

Sinclair told the audience one of the things she is most proud of in her career is her ability to evolve and adapt, saying John Herdman was the first national team coach "that saw me as more than just a goal-scorer."

"I give him credit for changing the way I play, all of sudden I'm an attacking midfielder-type and being asked to be more involved in the game. I was able to flourish in that role … But honestly it comes down to the fact that I'm overly obsessive with the sport and will do anything to keep trying to get better."

Sinclair also showed off her sense of humour throughout the chat.

"How's retirement feel?" Sinclair was asked after she and Labbé sat down on stage.

"Tiring," Sinclair answered with a laugh.

"Welcome to the other side," said Labbé, who retired last year and is now GM of the Vancouver Whitecaps women. "I'm excited to see where we go from here."


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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec 7, 2023.

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press