Canada's Christine Sinclair to play another season with NWSL champion Portland

PORTLAND, Ore. — Captain Christine Sinclair, who led Portland to the NWSL championship on the weekend, is returning to the Thorns next season.

The club announced Tuesday it has exercised Sinclair’s option for 2023. It will mark the 11th season with Portland for the 39-year-old from Burnaby, B.C.

“Everybody knows that Christine Sinclair has been at the centre of this club’s success since the beginning of this league," Portland general manager Karina LeBlanc, a former Canadian international, said in a statement. "The impact she’s had not only on our club and this league, but on the global game highlights her importance.

"She is a leader who inspires all those around her to be better, while constantly striving to be a top-class professional day in and day out. Throughout this process it was clear that Christine wanted to remain in Portland, and we are thrilled that she will be returning for the 2023 season.”

Sinclair has been with the Thorns since the club’s inaugural NWSL season in 2013 and is the club’s all-time leader in games played (157), games started (152), minutes played (13,393) and goals scored (59).

She is one of just two players to score a goal in every year of the NWSL and currently ranks second all-time in goals, sixth in games started, eighth in minutes played (13,348) and ninth in games played in league history.

“Sinc is a foundational member of this team. Their success is her success, the Thorns and Christine Sinclair are synonymous,” said Thorns coach Rhian Wilkinson, also a former Canadian international. “Having Sincy’s leadership, goal scoring prowess, and standard setting mentality, makes the Portland Thorns better every day.”

The Canadian captain played 14 matches this season, including 12 starts, with five goals in 990 minutes played.

Sinclair, a former forward now playing in the midfield, is the NWSL’s all-time leader in playoff minutes (1,022) and playoff appearances (12).

Sinclair has helped Portland win three NWSL titles (2013, 2017, 2022), two NWSL Shields (2016, 2021), the NWSL Fall Series (2020), the NWSL Challenge Cup (2021) and the Women’s International Champions Cup (2021).

Sinclair, who played her collegiate soccer at the University of Portland, leads all men and women with 190 international goals. With 317 international appearances, Sinclair is the most-capped active international footballer among men and women — and second-most all time to American Kristine Lilly (354).

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 1, 2022.

The Canadian Press