The pride of Burnaby, B.C.—and one of our all-time greatest athletes—will once again lead Canada’s national team to the Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand in July. She’s proven as adept at negotiating as she is on the field, taking her battle for equal pay to Parliament Hill and winning on behalf of women who play international soccer (much better than men) for Canada.
Play the long game
Sinclair scored her first international goal at the Algarve Cup in 2000, when she was just 16. Since then, she’s only gotten better. She’s now up to 190-plus goals, making her the highest scoring international player in the world, man or woman. She has three Olympic medals, including a gold from Tokyo 2020, and this summer will mark her sixth World Cup. The point: Don’t panic if you’re not nailing it right away; you have lots of time to hit your stride.
Keep your ego off the pitch
Sinclair knows a little something about being a boss—she’s captain of both Portland Thorns FC, the top-ranked team in the U.S. National Women’s Soccer League, and of Canada’s national squad. That doesn’t mean she’s bossy. “I’m a quieter type of leader,” she has said. “I’ll do anything for my team, and I’ll speak up when needed, but I tend to lead more by example.” Just because you have power doesn’t mean you need to throw it around.
Teamwork makes the dream work
Sinclair tries to foster the idea that on the field, everyone’s a leader. “In their own unique way, everyone has a kind of influence with a different group in the team. It’s about giving people the confidence to express themselves,” she told a reporter back in 2016. Empowering your people and letting them inspire others is the hallmark of savvy leadership.
Fight for what’s right
As captain of Team Canada, Sinclair led a strike over pay equity—players on Canada’s 53rd-ranked men’s squad earned five times what the women did in 2021, the year they won Olympic gold—and budget cuts by Canada Soccer that would leave the team ill prepared to compete at the World Cup. Sinclair and three teammates also delivered scathing testimony before a parliamentary committee in Ottawa—a brave move considering what typically happens to athletes who speak out against the powers that be. But it worked: The women signed a better deal with Canada Soccer soon after.
Give a hand to the next generation
Sincy, as she’s affectionately called, isn’t known for being particularly loquacious, but by all accounts she’s a fantastic listener and mentor to her younger teammates. And she doesn’t just dispense advice; she solicits it, too—helping build better leaders in the process. As one of her Portland teammates puts it: “She’ll ask us our opinions...and actually take it to heart.”
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