Canada's next superstar

BOB MACKIN -- 24 Hours Vancouver

, Last Updated: 8:21 AM ET

Christine Sinclair's trophy case is getting a tad crowded.

Her latest accolade came last week when she won the Honda-Broderick Cup as National Collegiate Athletic Association's female athlete of the year.

After learning she'd won via a voice-mail message, she flew to New York City's Columbia University to receive the award from American track and field legend Jackie Joyner-Kersee.

She arrived home to find she's nominated for top female collegiate athlete in the Lance Armstrong-hosted Espy Awards July 16.

Sinclair has a slew of conference, regional and national all-star and most valuable player citations. Her record-breaking 39-goal 2005 season and national championship victory with the Portland Pilots is the reason for all the fuss. She ended her college career with 110 goals - second-best in NCAA women's history - and joined Mia Hamm and Cindy Parlow as the only players to twice win the Missouri Athletic Club's Hermann Trophy for top collegiate soccer player. She's also an academic star, who earned a life sciences degree when she wasn't on the pitch.

"Soccer is a team sport, the pressure comes from 'can your team produce?'" Sinclair said. "It's just an honour to win these awards, I had a good season but the highlight was definitely winning the national championship."

As awards go, there are only three on her wish list: W-League championship in August, Women's World Cup in September 2007 and an Olympic gold medal in August 2008. Whitecaps host the W-League final four, but success in the other tournaments in China will rely on Canada winning berths in regional qualifying tournaments.

"I want to try at some point playing overseas, it would be a great experience," she said. "Right now my focus is the national team and Whitecaps. If going overseas has to wait a couple of years, that's alright."

The five-foot-nine striker, a product of Burnaby South secondary, turned 23 June 12. She also played baseball and basketball in her childhood and youth, but she chose soccer because of her knack for scoring goals.

A national team mainstay since 2000, she scored seven times and led Canada to within a goal of winning the first FIFA Under-19 Women's World Championship in Edmonton in 2002. She overcame a bout with mononucleosis before 2003's Women's World Cup in the U.S. and had three goals in Canada's fourth-place finish.

"I've been through a lot as a player, obviously gone through four years of college and played in big games there and gained a lot of experience," she said. "I've become more of a leader because I had to be on my college team. That's a big thing, you mature a lot in four years."


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