BBC Women's Footballer of the Year 2017: Christine Sinclair profile

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Spotlight on the nominee: Christine Sinclair

We are profiling each of the five nominees for the BBC Women's Footballer of the Year 2017 award. Voting has now closed but you can see all the contenders' profiles and read full terms here. The winner will be revealed on Tuesday, 30 May, during Sport Today on BBC World Service from 18:30 GMT (19:30 BST).

Christine Sinclair is the face of football in Canada with the BBC Women's Footballer of the Year 2017 nominee having quietly transformed her side from outsiders to Olympic bronze medallists.

"I'm never going to be the rah-rah person, the most vocal leader in the dressing room, I prefer to do my talking on the field," the 33-year-old Portland Thorns striker said.

A celebrity in her homeland with her own Walk of Fame star in Toronto, the Canada captain is even related to the country's prime minister, Justin Trudeau.

"Not many people know this, but when I met him for the first time he knew we were related, which I didn't know," she said. "We're like second cousins or something. It's pretty cool."

Justin Trudeau and Christine Sinclair
Sinclair is related to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

When Rio 2016 organisers were setting up the podium for the medal presentation, Sinclair was sobbing.

It had been a career-defining year for her, the culmination of years of hard work taking Canada from obscurity to back-to-back Olympic medallists.

She scored the second goal as her side beat hosts Brazil 2-1 in the bronze medal match in front of a partisan crowd in Sao Paulo as they matched their London 2012 finish.

"We headed into the Olympics knowing we could be beat anyone," she said.

"The problem we had in the past was not being consistent. We beat Australia, France, Germany and Brazil all in one tournament.

"Now to be ranked fourth in the world is a huge step forward for us and now the world knows what we're capable of."

It underlined just how much things had changed over the years.

"My first World Cup in 2003, no-one knew it was happening, no-one in Canada paid any attention - we finished fourth and no-one cared to be honest.

"Look at [the World Cup] in 2015, Canada hosting it, the packed stadiums - it's come a long way and it's been a privilege to be part of it."

Christine Sinclair
Sinclair was mobbed by her team-mates after scoring against Brazil in the Olympic bronze medal match

With 167 international goals, she is second on the all-time list behind former USA player Abby Wambach (184).

Last year she surpassed the 158 goals of one of her heroes, ex-USA forward Mia Hamm.

"I'm kind of amazed at where my career has gone." She said.

"I remember my first couple of years on the national team and wondered how the heck did Mia Hamm score so many goals in her career and no-one is going to reach that. I had her jersey growing up and to think I passed her last year is kind of crazy."

Sinclair grew up in Burnaby, near Vancouver, but it is the United States where she has made home.

She was on the University of Portland's two NCAA championship teams and now plays for the Portland Thorns of the National Women's Soccer League.

In 2016, the Thorns topped the table after the regular season to claim the NWSL Shield and Sinclair was voted Canadian Player of the Year for a 13th time.

"I have the honour of playing for the best coach in the world [Canada coach John Herdman], who inspires me to be the best I can be everyday," she said.

"To think I have four more years to work under him I can't wait."

Why vote for me?

"People should vote for me because I helped lead Canada to back-to-back podiums, which nobody else did, and just changing the state of women's soccer in Canada. To win this award obviously would be a huge honour but it would be testament to our team and the run we had in the Olympics. We put our team on the map."

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