Home Canadian Soccer Women's National Team Player of the Year Sinclair admits she considered taking her game to Europe

Player of the Year Sinclair admits she considered taking her game to Europe

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Canadian women’s player of the year Christine Sinclair admits that she was thinking about making the move to Europe because of the uncertainty surrounding the WPS.

“I’m not ready to not play professionally,” said Sinclair Thursday, as she was named Canada’s female soccer player of the year for the seventh straight year after a vote that wasn’t close. “When there were rumours that WPS might be shut down, for sure I thought about going either to Germany or to Sweden to play.”

WPS was given provisional Division-1 status by the United States Soccer Federation that will be reviewed after the season. After the magicJack franchise was revoked by the league, WPS was left with just five teams, all of them in the Eastern time zone. USSF has given the league a mandate to grow the women’s pro game or lose the sanction. But, for weeks, players and fans have endured story after story about the league’s possible demise.

“I’m thrilled that it’s back for at least one more year,” said Sinclair. “It’s important for North America that it survives, because it has such potential.”

Sinclair tied Marta for the WPS scoring league, with 10 goals each. Sinclair scored in the WPS championship game for her Western New York Flash, a game that WNY won after penalty kicks. For the 11th time in 12 seasons, Sinclair led the Canadian national team in scoring, with eight goals in 2011. Her most memorable? A free kick goal in the World Cup opener against the host Germans — a goal she scored after her nose had been broken.

That’s not to come close to suggesting all was good with Sinclair. She endured a threat of a national women’s-team strike, watched coach Carolina Morace resign after the team went winless in Germany and has to play in a league where survival looks, at least from the outside, to be a day-to-day thing.

“I had the highest of highs, and lowest of lows all in one year,” said Sinclair.

But WPS on-field success helped ease the pain of the World Cup, and she said the team’s once fractured relationship with the Canadian Soccer Association has been mended. She’s also bullish about new women’s team coach John Herdman. The team just wrapped up a training camp in Calfornia ahead of CONCACAF qualifying for the Olympics, while will take place in Vancouver early in 2012.

“Our relationship with our coach, our relationship with the CSA have never been better,” she said.

“John is tremendous. He was exactly what the team needed at that point after the World Cup.”

She admitted that, after the crash-and-burn in Germany, many of here teammates were “kind of over soccer.” Herdman’s enthusiasm has helped to rebuild the Canadian team’s morale.

“He brought back the passion for soccer.”

And, even though she now has won the national soccer award seven times in a row, she’s not bitter about not winning — or ever really being considered — for female or all-around athlete of the year honours. Even though, if you stack her numbers against any other female athlete Canada has ever produced, you’d have to agree she should be in the top five — of all time.

“This is a team sport, and our team finished last at the World Cup. That makes it difficult for me to say yes (to being athlete of the year).”

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