Canada's Christine Sinclair becomes international soccer's top goal-scorer in 11-0 win
Nets 185th goal with early brace against St. Kitts and Nevis, surpassing Abby Wambach
Christine Sinclair says she lives her life "trying to be the best Canadian that I can, in my own way."
On Wednesday, she accomplished that and a whole lot more. The 36-year-old from Burnaby, B.C., made soccer history, notching goals No. 184 and 185 to pass retired American Abby Wambach and become the world's all-time leading goal-scorer.
The relief of getting the record was evident after the game as Sinclair met the media following a champagne bath from her teammates. And the shy striker known as Sinc or Sincy opened up a little — about her status as soccer icon and role model.
"It's not something I really think about," she said. "I'm just me. I'm private, I'm quiet. I'll speak up when I need to … Hopefully I'm an example for others, especially like young kids. Show them what's possible when you dream those crazy dreams and put in the work.
"But most of all, I just try to be a good Canadian day after day."
WATCH | Sinclair scores record-breaking goal:
Sinclair scored the milestone 185th goal in the 23rd minute in an 11-0 romp over outmatched St. Kitts and Nevis at the CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying Championship at H-E-B Park in south Texas.
Jessie Fleming stole the ball from a St. Kitts player and sent it to an onrushing Adriana Leon in space. Leon and Sinclair found themselves in a two-on-one and Leon passed the ball to an unmarked Sinclair, who took a touch with her left foot and then slotted the ball into the corner with her right from six yards out.
Thank you to EVERYONE for all the messages...I’m slightly overwhelmed. Thank you to all my teammates, coaches, staff, friends and family.185 would not have been possible without you. <a href="https://t.co/fP6vD43PUW">pic.twitter.com/fP6vD43PUW</a>—@sincy12
A smiling Sinclair turned, her arms outstretched, and then pumped her fists before Leon arrived to hug her. The goal celebration continued at the sideline with Sinclair rolling the ball into her teammates, who went down like bowling pins.
"What an experience to be on the field with Sinc in this moment," added midfielder Sophie Schmidt. "I'm so proud of her. I think all of Canada is so proud of her."
"We are just so honoured to play with her," said midfielder Desiree Scott.
St. Kitts, ranked 127th in the world, offered about the same type of resistance, falling 11-0 to eighth-ranked Canada in a game that was one-way traffic.
WATCH | Canada dominates St. Kitts in historic match:
Goal No. 184 came in the seventh minute as Canada pressed from the get-go and a defender bundled Sinclair down in the penalty box.
Referee Crystal Sobers of Trinidad and Tobago pointed to the spot immediately. Unlike the round-of-16 match against Sweden at the World Cup last summer, when Sinclair ceded the spot kick to Janine Beckie, the skipper took charge.
Sinclair walked over to the goal-line to retrieve the ball, walked back to the spot and then rolled it the ball to the right of St. Kitts goalkeeper Kyra Dickinson to tie Wambach. Once again Sinclair put the ball where the keeper wasn't.
St. Kitts becomes the 41st country Sinclair has scored on. Her A to Z of goal victims ranges from Argentina to Zimbabwe.
WATCH | Canadian athletes congratulate Sinclair:
Sinclair had a chance at her hat trick in first-half stoppage time but shot just high. She started the second half but gave way in the 47th minute to 18-year-old Jordyn Huitema.
Leon (12th, 26th, 43rd and 80th minutes), Ashley Lawrence (18th and 57th), Jayde Riviere (49th), Fleming (54th) and Huitema (74th) also scored for Canada in the rout.
Sinclair was playing in her 290th career game for Canada. Wambach, who retired in 2015, compiled her total in 255 games.
Wambach tweeted her congratulations.
Christine: History is made. Your victory is our victory. We celebrate with you.<br>And to every girl coming up in the Pack with a dream to achieve that which doesn’t yet even exist: We believe in you. Your Pack is with you. And history awaits you.<a href="https://twitter.com/sincy12?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@sincy12</a> <a href="https://t.co/rNxjjpV7tZ">https://t.co/rNxjjpV7tZ</a> <a href="https://t.co/xkUjLtNXHn">pic.twitter.com/xkUjLtNXHn</a>—@AbbyWambach
"Christine: History is made. Your victory is our victory. We celebrate with you. And to every girl coming up in the Pack with a dream to achieve that which doesn't yet even exist: We believe in you. Your Pack is with you. And history awaits you."
CONCACAF president Victor Montagliani, a fellow Canadian, called Sinclair's record "an amazing feat."
"She transcends the sport and is a wonderful role model for people across the country."
Added Canada Soccer president Steven Reed: "Christine's achievements have made her an icon in Canada. She transcends the sport and is a wonderful role model for people across the country."
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted: "She did it! Christine Sinclair is now international soccer's all-time leading goal scorer. Congratulations, @sincy12 — you rock!"
FIFA president Gianni Infantino also offered congratulations.
"This achievement rewards your outstanding twenty-year career at the highest level, which could only be achieved thanks to your tremendous commitment, exemplary motivation, hard work and incredible passion for our beautiful game," Infantino wrote in a letter Thursday. "Your human qualities and skills, not to mention your remarkable contribution to the popularity and growth of women's football, or soccer, deserve our admiration."
Sinclair's 185 goals are more than Cristiano Ronaldo (99) and Pele (77) combined. Ali Daei leads the men's international goal list with 109 in 149 appearances for Iran between 1993 and 2006.
Canada continues Group B play Saturday against No. 51 Jamaica before facing No. 26 Mexico on Feb. 4. Sinclair has 11 career goals against Jamaica and 16 against Mexico.
The top two teams in the group will then join the top two from Group A (No. 21 U.S., No. 37 Costa Rica, No. 53 Panama and No. 68 Haiti) in the semifinals in Carson, Calif. The semifinal winners book their tickets to Tokyo, representing the region covering North and Central America and the Caribbean.
WATCH | Christine Sinclair's greatest goals:
Wambach now 39, broke fellow American Mia Hamm's record haul of 158 in 2013 with a four-goal performance against South Korea.
Hamm was quick to congratulate Sinclair.
"Simply amazing! Congratulations, Christine on becoming the all-time international goals leader. You continue to carry yourself and the game to new heights. Thank you."
The U.S. women's team also offered kudos.
"We know greatness when we see it. Congrats ... We tip our hats to you," the team said on its official Twitter feed, adding a goat emoji.
We know greatness when we see it. <br><br>Congrats, <a href="https://twitter.com/sincy12?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@sincy12</a>! We tip our hats to you. 🐐 <a href="https://t.co/xATypfKyU6">pic.twitter.com/xATypfKyU6</a>—@USWNT
Renae Cuellar scored in the 35th minute and Mexico beat Jamaica 1-0 on Wednesday night in the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament.
Mexico has made the Olympic field just once, in 2004. The team failed to reach the knockout stage four years ago ahead of the 2016 Summer Games in Brazil. Jamaica has never made it out of the group stage in the tournament, which will determine the region's two Olympic berths.