Christine Sinclair's record-breaking strike at the CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying Championship in January has been named the 2020 Canada Soccer Moment of the Year.
The Canada captain scored career goal No. 185 in the 23rd minute of Canada’s opening match against St. Kitts and Nevis on Jan. 29 at H-E-B Park in Edinburg, Texas. That moved Sinclair past retired American Abby Wambach, who had held the world record of 184 goals since 2013.
“When we think back to some of the great moments in sport, we can cherish the moment that our Canadian captain Christine Sinclair became the world’s all-time international goal-scoring record holder," Canada Soccer president Nick Bontis said in a statement.
"“To score 185 goals at the international level is an incredible feat and we may never get to see such a thing again in our lifetime. Watching Christine Sinclair lead Canada on the world stage has offered all of us some of the best memories as sports fans and as proud Canadians."
After tying the record from the penalty spot for a 1-0 lead in the seventh minute, the 37-year-old from Burnaby, B.C., got some help from her friends on the milestone goal.
Jessie Fleming stole the ball from St. Kitts' Calvonis Prentice, sending it to an onrushing Adriana Leon in space. Leon and Sinclair found themselves on 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 foot from six yards out.
A smiling Sinclair turned, her arms outstretched and pumped her fists before Leon arrived to hug her. The goal celebration continued on the sideline with Sinclair rolling the ball into her teammates, who went down like bowling pins.
Behind her, the Canadian substitutes had donned goat masks to honour the Greatest Of All Time.
“Christine Sinclair, an absolute treasure to Canada and Canadian sport, is truly deserving of her remarkable achievement in setting the world’s all-time international goal-scoring record,” said Canada Soccer general secretary Peter Montopoli.
“She has been making history throughout her career, leading Canada with skill, determination, pride and honour on the international stage. There is only one Christine Sinclair and she is simply greatest of all time."
Goal No. 184 came as Canada pressed from the get-go and a defender bundled Sinclair down in the penalty box just minutes after kickoff.
St. Kitts, then ranked 127th in the world, offered little resistance in the 11-0 loss to eighth-ranked Canada. Canada outshot St. Kitts 42-2 (16-2 in shots on target) and had 67 per cent possession.
Few saw the milestone goal with the stadium virtually empty. Mexico-Jamaica was the marquee nightcap game, no doubt because of Edinburg's close proximity to the border.
Sinclair's historic goal came in her 290th career game for Canada. Wambach, who retired in 2015, compiled her total in 255 games.
Sinclair then scored goal No. 186 in a win over Mexico on Feb. 4 at the Olympic qualifier. Canada went on to finished runner-up to the U.S. at the tournament.
CANADA SOCCER MOMENTS OF THE YEAR: 2019: Canada men's team defeats the U.S. at the international “A” level for the first time in 34 years.
2018: Canada, Mexico and the U.S. win the rights to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
2017: Toronto FC wins the treble: Canadian Championship, MLS Supporters’ Shield and MLS Cup
2016: Canada women's team wins its second consecutive Olympic bronze medal after a 2:1 win over host Brazil.
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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 10, 2020