13. Christine Sinclair
Even at 34, Christine Sinclair is regularly still defying the odds. Eight goals for Portland Thorns helped Mark Parsons’ side win the NWSL Championship, with Sinclair scoring the fourth in their emphatic semi-final win against Orlando Pride.
Sinclair came up big when it mattered, being named in the NWSL’s final Team of the Month for September, with her move to the No.10 spot for the Thorns allowing her to play a more influential role in the side’s attacks.
The Canada captain continued to perform for her country too, the striker now sits on an incredible 169 international goals, just 15 short of Abby Wambach’s USA tally.
Sinclair scored a late winner against Denmark in the team’s Algarve Cup opener and ended her year sparking a comeback from 2-0 against Norway in Spain.
John Herdman, Canada national team head coach says:
“The reason I came to Canada was to work with Christine Sinclair. I’ve always seen her as the Michael Jordan of women’s football and I’m serious when I say that. The amount of goals she’s scored for a team like Canada, you can look at Messi and Ronaldo and it’s easy to score goals when you’re playing for Barcelona or Real Madrid.
“By all means, the Canadian team has improved a lot over the past five years, but she’s been banging goals in for Canada before we were one of the top five teams in the world. As good as she is on the pitch, she’s an even better human being off it.
“She’s easily the most instinctive goal scorer I’ve ever seen or worked with in the women’s game. There’s been some great ones in Marta, Wambach, Morgan and Hamm, but everyone talks about stopping Sinclair and you just can’t stop the unstoppable – she just keeps on scoring.
“She’s been a bit of a freak in terms of her physical attributes, she’s rarely injured. She’s great in the air, she’s like a rolls Royce with her touch and her movement and people probably don’t realise how quick she is either.”
Mark Parsons, Portland Thorns manager says:
“She’s the smartest, most professional player and the most coachable. She was more extrovert and helped others do their job this season, she picked the ball up and linked up with other players whilst continuing to score.
“It was a game changer for us to move her into the No.10 role, she was a crucial and key leader for us because everyone looks up to her and learns from her.”
Sandra Prusina, Canadian women’s football writer says:
“Ageless wonder. She’s one of the best athletes to ever come from Canada. Even at 34, she continues to make those around her better on both professional and national team levels. The Canadian and Portland captain still has an incredible nose for the net, while leading by example with her two-way game. Heading into the NWSL playoffs, she leads her team in scoring. In nine games for Canada in 2017, she’s found the back of the net three times and has five assists, helping her side to a 6-1-2 record.”