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Christine Sinclair: “I’m just raring to go”

(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

TORONTO – How do you keep Christine Sinclair healthy and in top form before the 2016 Rio Olympics?

“Just play”, said Sinclair following training on Tuesday. “I’ve spent the past couple of weeks just trying to get healthy. I’m just raring to go.”

The 32 year-old Sinclair has been dealing with an Achilles injury that won’t go away and first appeared during her final match with the Portland Thorns in 2015. In dealing with that injury, a calf injury has also bothered Sinclair. While Canadian supporters might be worried about Sinclair’s health, she’s not at all convinced that this is anything major.

“Yeah it’s the same thing, that I never really got rid of it. I’m not too worried about it though.”

You can’t keep a competitor like Sinclair off the pitch. Her drive, determination, and unbelievable skill level has helped her become Canada’s all-time greatest soccer player. That’s what makes her who she is. Can you imagine telling Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi to sit out a few matches before a big tournament to nurse nagging injuries that they aren’t worried about? Canada Soccer’s medical staff will tell you that’s not such a great idea because Sinclair always wants to be on the pitch.

“Yeah, I’m pretty sure our medical staff and John are sick of hearing from me,” said Sinclair. “Especially the medical staff. I know they have my best interest in mind, but just sometimes it’s frustrating. You just want to be out there.”

Sinclair played 45 minutes for the Thorns on Sunday vs Seattle Reign FC. She has been working her way back to full fitness and is hoping that a pair of friendlies against Brazil, on June 4 and June 7 will show she’s back to her old self.

“I’m feeling pretty good,” admitted Sinclair. “I had a couple of rough weeks there, but I think the 45 minutes and things like that are prep for these games, wanting to be as healthy as possible for these two games.”

As any athlete enters the later years of a career they often spend more and more time in the treatment room recuperating, recovering, and trying to prevent little injuries from showing up. Sinclair is by no means dealing with an injury crisis, but this entire process of rehab and sitting out the start of the 2016 NWSL season is a new experience that she’s not dealt with before.

“I’ve been very fortunate in my career obviously to not deal with too many injuries, but it’s frustrating. I’m the type of person, I want to be out there playing with my teammates, so it’s been a rough couple of weeks, but now that I’m healthy I’m just itching to get out there.”

When she does take to the pitch at BMO Field and TD Place, Sinclair could very well be joined by some young Canadian talent that’s showing extreme promise in helping Canada build a generation of talented soccer players for years to come. Sinclair has been to World Cups, Olympics Games, Cyprus, and Algarve Cups, and has played all over the world. Nichelle Prince, Gabrielle Carle, Janine Beckie, Deanne Rose, Shelina Zadorsky, and Rebecca Quinn are at the beginning of their international careers. Sinclair is ready to offer advice and encouragement, on what they can expect to experience at the Rio Olympics.

“I want them to enjoy it. Obviously it’s a business trip, but it’s a once and a lifetime opportunity to be in your first Olympics. I want them to have great memories of it.”

It wasn’t too long ago that Canada Soccer really didn’t have an abundance of talent knocking on the door. Herdman’s excel program has helped Canada create much-needed depth that’s great for short-term and more importantly the long-term.

“I think that’s the most exciting part,” revealed Sinclair. “One thing John wanted to do with this team, was to build a pipeline and I think he’s done that. I think the roster you see now, is starting, the future of soccer in this country is very bright and it’s only going to get better.”

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