I got to spend some time with Western New York Flash’s forward and Canadian Women’s National team captain, Christine Sinclair and chat a little about her continued strive to be one of the best in women’s soccer. We covered why she loves soccer, becoming part of the Western New York Flash, her role with Canada and some things you may not have know about her. Here is how it went:
Nell Enriquez: In terms of your career, who has had the most influence on you?
Sinclair: For me it was more my family members. Two of my uncles, Brian and Bruce Gant, played professionally, they played for Canada. They were the people I really looked up to.
NE: Has there ever been a point where you said to yourself, you know this isn’t really want I want to do? I want to do something else.
Sinclair: No! At a young age it sort of just came to me that I love soccer. And I was always around a soccer. So no, I’ve never come to the point where I don’t want to do this.
NE: If you weren’t playing soccer, would there be anything else that you would want to do?
Sinclair: I’ve always had the desire to become a physical therapist. So, if I wasn’t playing soccer I would have gone to school for physical therapy and done that.
NE: While at the University of Portland you earned the ESPN The Magazine’s Academic All American award. Tell us a little bit about that?
Sinclair: (Lots of laughter) Yes I did. Well, I really enjoy science. I worked hard at school and got good grades and I was just really interested in what I was studying.
NE: During this time you also chose to redshirt, extended your time at Portland and got the chance to be part of the Canadian’s Women’s National Team.
Sinclair: Yes. Well obviously with the way the World Cup schedule is – that year it fell right in the middle of college (soccer) season and I was away with the national team preparing for the World Cup. I couldn’t do both. With what I was studying, biology and physics and things like that – those are things you need to be in class for. I was unable to do both so in talking with my college coach decided that it would be best to take a semester off and focus on the World Cup.
NE: Let’s talk a little bit about this past week’s game again the Atlanta Beat. How did you feel out there? And being in Atlanta, away from Buffalo where I’ve heard it’s still cold. What was it like for you?
Sinclair: First of all I love coming to Atlanta – they have an amazing stadium. They have great fans. So it’s definitely an enjoyable place to come. Unfortunately, the game, as a team we didn’t play as well as we could have. It’s kind of disappointing to come away with a tie. We feel like we should have won that game. But you know, after two games we’ve won one and tied one and we get to go home and have our home opener next weekend. Four points from two road games isn’t too bad.
NE: Walk us through your early goal assisted by Brittany Bock.
Sinclair: Britt, she wins so many balls in the midfield. She stole one off one of their players and just found me. I didn’t even really look up. I found myself with time at the top of the 18 and just shot. To get a goal that early was huge for us. Like I said, unfortunately we couldn’t hold that lead.
NE: What is the chemistry like on the field now that Marta is with the team?
Sinclair: I mean it’s great. Anytime you can add someone like Marta to your team you’re going to get better. We played together, I thought very successfully last year. You know we haven’t played together for six months so it’ll take a little bit of time. She’s only been here for like four days. We’re only going to get better. Having her, myself and Alex Morgan up top, I think we can be very dangerous.
Taking on the World Cup:
NE: Do you think that playing with Alex Morgan will give you an edge at the World Cup?
Sinclair: Well, right now as a Canadian team we are not focusing on the U.S just because both teams have to go very far in order to play each other. We’re more focused on the Germans right now..
NE: Let’s chat a little bit about Carolina Morace. You’ve lead your team in supporting her to continue to be your coach. Talk about taking that role.
Sinclair: Yes, obviously there’s been some issues between the (Canadian) Soccer Association and our coach. We feel that our best chance at having success at the World Cup, the Olympics and years down the road are with Carolina as a coach. It was a team decision to stand behind her and support her. Myself being the captain of the team and one of the more veteran players – me and some of the other players, took the lead role in standing behind her in the media.
NE: What are you most looking forward to when it comes to the World Cup?
Sinclair: I’m definitely looking forward to the first game. I think playing against Germany in Germany, the Berlin Olympic Stadium – it’s already sold out. It’s going to be one of those moments you’re going to remember forever. Just thinking about that gives me butterflies. That game is going to stand out.
NE: You mentioned recently that you’re trying to focus on the big picture in terms of WPS, which is to help WPS survive. When you found out that the FC Gold Pride had to fold, what thoughts where through your mind?
Sinclair: Just extremely disappointed. I thought we had something very special in the Bay area. As a player that wants to see this league succeed and grow and see women’s soccer grow in North America, it was heartbreaking to see a team that won the championship fold. That can’t be a good sign. That’s why I think as players we need to do everything we can to help this league survive.
NE: Now that you’re part of the Western New York Flash, what is like to work with the coaching staff, the new office staff and your new yet old team?
Sinclair: Absolutely! It’s been great. The whole organization is top notch. Very professional. We have a great training facility; a nice stadium. Our owners are tremendous. In terms of the organization it’s top notch. Obviously having the quality of players that we have, we’re looking to duplicate what we did last year.
Just for Kicks:
NE: Can you tell us something unique about yourself – besides “Bunny” that travels with you everywhere as seen on one of your ESPN – W videos.
Sinclair: (Lots of laughter) – Hmm oh gosh. I have a Pomeranian puppy named Nutmeg. She’s about seven pounds. People think that’s hilarious because they can’t see me with a little dog. People make fun of me and say I have a purse dog.
NE: What is your dream car?
Sinclair: A BMW m3 – Black!
NE: What are you looking forward to the rest 2011?
Sinclair: As a team I’d like for us to win the WPS championship. You know, our national team, our goal is to get a medal at the World Cup. Personally, see I’m not one that sets goals but come World Cup time I’d like to be playing the best soccer I’ve ever played. That’s what I want.