BERLIN - Anyone who has come face-to-face with Christine Sinclair on the field, remembers her. I sure do. When I first played against Christine, she couldn't have been more than 16-years-old. But she left an impression on my ego, and a red welt on my neck.
The first time we went up for a ball, the chain around my neck flew several feet into the air. Before I knew it, Christine was dribbling towards the goal and I was left on my hands and knees looking for a pendant. At least that's how I remember it...
Over a decade later, I caught up with Christine in Berlin - four days before she leads her team in the FIFA Women's World Cup opener against Germany.
1. In the lead-up to the big game, do you have any rituals?
Oh gosh, for me personally, I'm a little superstitious, so I have a long list of things. Everything goes on left first. I don't know why. It's crazy.
So what happens if you accidentally have "a moment" and put the right shin pad on first?
I take it off and put on the left. I won't step on the field. [laughs].
2. Pre-game song?
Michael Jackson's Man In The Mirror, has to be listened to. Each player is allowed one song for the team play list, and that is my song.
You're not the only one to mention that song...
I can guess Sophie [Schmidt] also picked "Man In The Mirror." Only because we went to the same college, The University of Portland, and that's like, the team tradition: you listen to Michael Jackson beforehand. And "Man In The Mirror" is like the song that gets the team ready. I think that both of us have carried it on. It's now a Team Canada thing.
3. Have you envisioned what it's going to be like when you step on the field gameday?
Obviously we do some mental preparation. Individually, we try to visualize what it's going to be like. I've been lucky enough to see the stadium, and that's important. You do look at the crowd and the stadium during warm-up, but as soon as the whistle blows, it all sort of disappears.
Obviously we are going to have the entire stadium against us. But you know we've played in environments like that before. And actually the German fans are some of the nicer fans you'll come across. You know luckily we are not playing this Cup in South America or something like that!
4. A lot of the time when people are asked which player they do not want to come across in this tournament, they say you. So which player don't you want to play against? Which defender is particularly tough, or just gets your game?
It's not just one particular defender, the physical fast defenders tend to annoy me. If I have to name names, just because we play them so often, I would say it's the American defender Christie Rampone. I think she's a tremendous defender.
5. How does it feel to play on a club team [Western New York Flash] with some of the best players in the world (not naming names - Marta) and then in a World Cup, you turn around and play against them?
You know, outside of the game, you are friends with them. But as soon as the whistle blows, it's business: you are enemies and you make up after the game.
But actually playing with some of the players that I play with at club level, it makes me realize that those players are human too and, you know, they make just as many mistakes as any one else. And in a way that's really helped my game.
6. What do you think you've improved on in the last few years, and what do you still need to work on in your game?
Improved? I think just consistency. I think under [coach] Carolina Morace, she's made me more aware of being the best every day. And if you train the best every day, come game time, it's more likely to happen. You can't sort of just turn it on when you want.
And improvement? Just leading the team. I have done some good things individually, but I need to try to lead this team to something great.
7. So when you are up against a specific team how do you guys prepare? What's the process?
Our coaches definitely watch all the games a team has played, probably in the last couple years. They try to see their tendencies, try to see what formations they play, their better players, their weaker players, weaknesses we can try to exploit and to, you know, nullify their strengths. [Carolina] comes up with a master plan for every game. It's incredible.
8. What's after soccer for you?
Well I'm still pretty young, so hopefully that won't be for a while, but I want to stay involved in the game, most likely through coaching. But for instance we have a physical trainer whose name is Mario, and I love what he does. And I would love to get involved in the physical aspect of soccer.
9. So what don't we know about you?
I have a Pomeranian dog named Nutmeg - a combination of the soccer move and the colour. It's perfect.
10. And finally: special talents?
I can solve a Rubik's Cube. All sides. And I just learnt on this trip. Mel Booth taught me how to solve a Rubik's Cube. We have crazy talent on this team...or just too much down time!
If you have any questions you'd like to ask the Canadian National Team, send them through by Twitter @anjalinayar or by leaving a comment on this page and we'll put them in!