Canadian women's soccer team captain Christine Sinclair will have time to sign as many autographs as she wants while serving a four-match suspension issued by FIFA last week. (CARMINE MARINELLI/QMI Agency)
TORONTO - More than two months have passed since the Canadian women's soccer team's controversial semifinal loss to the United States at the London 2012 Olympic Games, but Christine Sinclair is still dealing with the consequences.
Suspended for four games and fined approximately $3,100 by FIFA last Friday for the critical comments she made about Norwegian referee Christiana Pedersen after the heartbreaking loss, Sinclair is as adamant about her views today as she was 10 weeks ago.
"I've said it before -- I don't regret what I said," the Burnaby, B.C., native told reporters in a conference call on Monday afternoon. "We had just lost the chance to play for an Olympic gold medal and that's a dream that all of us had.
"It was a very intense time and I was very emotional."
Sinclair's suspension, to be served over Canada's next four matches, means that the captain will miss only a set of friendly games scheduled in China for January.
And as for the fine, it will be paid in full by the Canadian Soccer Association.
Nonetheless disheartened with FIFA's sentence, the face of Canadian women's soccer is choosing to view the verdict as an obstacle which she and her teammates must now get over as they shift their attention to the future, including the Women's World Cup, to be held in Canada three years from now.
"I'd like to acknowledge FIFA's decision and say that it is my intent to accept it," she said. "As a player, I just want to be able to move on as well as allow my team to move on as we prepare for the biggest three years ever in Canadian women's soccer history.
"Obviously hearing the suspension and the fines, I'm disappointed but I'm ready to move on," she continued. "Ultimately, if it means me missing a couple games at the start of 2013, it's not the end of the world."
Sinclair even noted some of the positives that might result from her four-game suspension.
"It's a good opportunity for this team," she said. "(Head coach) John (Herdman) wants to bring in some younger players and there's no better chance to do that than in international games against some of the best teams in the world.
"It'll be a great test for my teammates and we'll move on and prepare for the World Cup."
Though the 29-year-old seems focused on the future, she's still not over the disappointment of that dramatic 4-3 semifinal defeat to the U.S. at the Olympic Games.
In a match in which she arguably played the best soccer of her life, scoring three goals against U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo, her personal achievement is overshadowed by controversy.
It's a loss that continues to haunt her.
"I still can't watch the game against the U.S.," Sinclair said. "it's still a touchy subject."
"It was an emotional time and it got the best of me."