The next one?

Discussion in 'Women's International' started by Googs67, Sep 3, 2002.

  1. Googs67

    Googs67 New Member

    Sep 3, 2002
    Soccer's shy sensation
    Aug. 28, 2002. 10:12 AM
    Despite scoring prowess, Canadian striker Sinclair would prefer to be out of the limelight
    By Norman Da Costa

    STAR POWER: Canadian under-19 captain Christine Sinclair wears jersey of U.S. star Mia Hamm during practice session this week in Edmonton.
    EDMONTON — Christine Sinclair plays soccer as if she has the ball on a string. She might soon have the world on one as well.

    The Canadian scoring sensation — one who is receiving Wayne Gretzky-like attention in a city that knows a little about scoring wizards — burst into the Canadian sporting consciousness this week with a brilliant performance here at the world under-19 women's soccer championship.

    But the emerging star is a study in contrasts. Off the field she is painfully shy, hates being in the limelight and is a person of few words. But let Captain Canada loose on a pitch and her power and passion do the talking. And it is a conversation sprinkled with exclamation points.

    With 10 goals in four games, Sinclair's magical feet, and feats, have her on pace for the tournament scoring title. She is an intimidating offensive presence on a physically dominating team that is developing championship chemistry.

    "Her pace and power was something we just couldn't deal with," England coach Mo Marley said after watching the Burnaby, B.C., resident shred her squad with five goals in the quarter-finals. The 6-2 win put Canada into the semis against Brazil and Sinclair into the headlines.

    Not bad for a 19-year-old who, 30 months ago, wouldn't have recognized Canada's national team coach Even Pellerud if they were standing in the same phone booth.

    She was completely unaware Pellerud was scouting her at a training camp in Arizona. She has since become a regular with the senior team in which the striker has eluded her markers, scoring 25 goals in 24 games, better than she is now eluding publicity.

    "I had no idea who Even was or what he looked like," Sinclair said. "But I received a call from him a month later and he invited me to play for the first team. I was stunned. I had no idea he was in the stands watching us."

    Sinclair is the product of a soccer-mad family that includes two uncles who played professionally in the now defunct North American Soccer League and parents who played recreationally. She started playing at age 4, but she wasn't always on good teams.

    "I remember being asked to play on the under-7 squad with bigger girls and, boy, oh boy, was our team ever brutal," she recalls.

    Sinclair, who counts national team captain Charmaine Hooper and American superstar Mia Hamm among her idols, usually played up in age groups and often on boys teams. And she eventually parlayed her blossoming skills and dedication into a scholarship at the University of Portland in Oregon.

    It was there the accolades began in earnest. The Pilots made it to the semifinals and she finished third in college scoring with 23 goals, was named a first-team all-American and was honoured as the NCAA freshman of the year by a U.S. soccer magazine.

    That attention has made it harder for Sinclair to blend in, but her remarkable ability to stay grounded and selfless despite that success has made her a role model to her teammates. And a natural to captain the squad.

    Ian Bridge, the Canadian under-19 coach, says "she could become the greatest women's scorer of all time."

    Sinclair greets that sort of compliment with an embarrassed shrug.

    "I just feel comfortable in front of the net with the ball," she said. "I think it was something I was born with. I've always been able to do it."

    Off the field, she is just like any other teenager. She is studying biological chemistry on a full scholarship but she might look at a career as a physical therapist. She would also like to play professionally in the U.S. and there will undoubtedly be keen interest.

    "I am just like any ordinary kid," she said. "I like to go to movies. When I come home for the holidays, I play around with the kids, love to shop and also listen to music.

    "There isn't any particular group or individual singer that I like. I listen to it all. These really are my hobbies. In the last few days we as a group have gone to quite a few movies."

    Her singular focus is on Canada's success. Individual awards don't matter nor does the distraction of dating.

    "All I have on my mind right now is winning this tournament for Canada," she said. "That is the reason we are here. I don't care about the (scoring title) or whatever. And since you asked, I do not have a boyfriend.

    "I do not want any distractions from my main goal and that is this tournament and next year's World Cup finals. Everything else can wait."

    That attention to detail was evident in Sunday's 6-2 win over England. After taking a 4-0 lead, Canada faced some anxious moments when the English side bounced back with two goals. It was time to tighten up. The normally reserved Sinclair stepped out of character and lectured the defence, reminding them to look at their wrists where each player had the word "heart" written on tape.

    And Sinclair, too, tried to show her own heart, when despite being in scoring position, she unselfishly set up teammate Michelle Rowe for Canada's sixth goal. Rowe's shot, however, rattled off the post and came back to Sinclair for the easy tap-in.

    "I wanted Michelle to score, but the ball just kept coming to me," Sinclair said. "It was kind of embarrassing to get five goals. I just wanted the game to end."

    But those things happen when you have the ball on a string
  2. ringster

    ringster New Member

    Jun 5, 2001
    Quebec, Canada
    This is great for the future of Canada's women's senior team. As we can see all of the U-19 team showed they could be the best. We have Sinclair, Lang (still has to work her game though, but it will come), Chapman, Mcloed, even Thorlakson, awe heck, the whole team will give Canada a big boost I think at the senior level.

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