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Christine Sinclair to wind up international career with games in Langford, Vancouver

Canada will play Australia on Dec. 1 at 7:30 p.m. at the Langford facility, just days before Christine Sinclair’s final career international game Dec. 5 at B.C. Place.
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Christine Sinclair, left, Adriana Leon, Jessie Fleming and Quinn celebrate a second half goal against Ireland during the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Perth, Australia, Wednesday, July 26, 2023. Canada captain Sinclair, who is the world’s all-time scorer with 190 international goals, is retiring from international soccer at the end of the year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/James Worsfold

Christine Sinclair, the greatest Canadian player and one of the best in women’s world soccer history, will come through Starlight Stadium for her penultimate game in a Canada jersey.

Canada will play Australia on Dec. 1 at 7:30 p.m. at the Langford facility, just days before Sinclair’s final career international game Dec. 5 against Australia at B.C. Place.

Sinclair, 40, announced her retirement from international play last week, although she will play one more season with the Portland Thorns of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL).

The Burnaby native has three Olympic medals, 327 caps and is the world all-time leading scorer in women’s international play with 190 goals for Canada, eclipsing former U.S. star Abby Wambach’s 184 career goals.

“I can sit here and know that I’ve literally done everything I can and given all of me to the national team since I was 16 years old. I have zero regrets. I know I’ve done everything I can for as long as I can,” Sinclair said Friday as she announced her retirement.

Being able to conclude her international career in B.C. “made my decision very easy,” she said. “Playing for the national team as long as I have, we have not been able to play at home a lot. It will be special for me.”

Bev Priestman, head coach of the Canadian team, said the matches against Australia “will be critical” in Canada’s preparation of the Paris Games.

Canada qualified for the 2024 Paris Olympics with a recent 4-1 two-game, total-goals CONCACAF regional qualifying win over Jamaica, while Australia’s Oceania Olympic qualifying process for Paris 2024 runs from this month through February.

Of Sinclair, Priestman said: “Very few players can transcend a sport both in this country and globally. Christine has done just that. The moment when Christine’s last kick or final whistle goes for this country, she can leave the field knowing she has changed this game forever [and] inspired an entire generation.

The games in B.C. will be grudge matches for Canada, which was humbled and eliminated 4-0 by the host Aussies in the final group game of the 2023 World Cup on July 31 in Melbourne.

The Australian team captured the imagination of their nation with its run to the semifinals and eventual fourth-place finish in the tournament.

This will be Canada’s second appearance on the Island in less than two years. Sinclair scored a goal as Canada played Nigeria to a 2-2 draw at Starlight Stadium in April of 2022 as part of its celebration tour to commemorate its gold medal victory in the Tokyo Olympics.

That game in Langford sold out within hours of tickets going on sale. Tickets for the Canada-Australia game at Starlight Stadium go on sale to the general public Oct. 30 at CanadaSoccer.com.

cdheensaw@timescolonist.com

— With a file from The Canadian Press