Christine Sinclair has scored 165 goals in her career with the Canadian national team, so it’s understandable if she has forgotten about some of them. But her goal in Canada’s 2-1 win over Brazil in the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament Rio 2016 to secure a second bronze medal for her nation will be one she’ll never forget.
“This one means a lot to me,” Sinclair said to FIFA.com moments after celebrating a consecutive Olympic medal. “It’s been a hard year for me. My dad passed away a couple of months ago, so I’ve just given everything for this team. I’m just so proud of this team.”
The unity of the Canadian side was very clear to see. Right after having the bronze medal draped over their shoulders, many of the players took theirs off and draped the medals over members of the team staff: doctors, physios, press officer, kit manager and alternates.
“There were days where I didn’t think I’d get through it,” Sinclair said. “All of the players and staff got me through it and they got me here. I was not leaving Brazil without a medal.”
Observing the players and staff absorb the feeling of winning a medal on the Arena Corinthians pitch, you’re reminded that football is much more than a game in many ways.
“We’re family. We’re a dysfunctional family at times! It’s perfect. Every single member of our team, whether it was alternate players in the stand, every single member of the staff, together we earned this, and together we put in four years of hard work to get here. I hope they know that they are the reasons we got on the podium.”
17-year-old Deanne Rose scored the opening goal against Brazil thanks to an assist by 20-year-old Ashley Lawrence, who sprinted and impressively dribbled down the length of the pitch before passing to Rose. At Rio 2016, Canada’s squad was the youngest with an average age of 25-years-old.
“This is just the start for this team,” Sinclair said. “You look at some of the players like Jessie Fleming, Ashley Lawrence and Deanne Rose—she’s like 12-years-old scoring in a bronze medal game!
“The future is so bright for this team with John [Herdman] as the head coach, the potential is limitless. John in the press conference said it perfectly, we should be a yearly podium threat, whether it’s a World Cup or Olympics, we should be in the top four and that’s our goal.”
The youthfulness of the Canadian squad makes their accomplishments at Rio 2016 stand out even more. Canada defeated gold medal challengers Germany, France and Brazil en route to winning Bronze.
“In the bronze medal game in London, a lot of people say we didn’t deserve to win it and luck was on our side,” Sinclair said. “I completely agree. Then you look at this tournament and the growth we’ve made since London, knocking off Australia, Germany, France and Brazil, we earned this. There wasn’t luck on our side. We earned this medal.”