10 best Canadian soccer players of all time

Christine Sinclair is Canada's most legendary soccer player. (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)
Christine Sinclair is Canada's most legendary soccer player. (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

Written by Compose.ly Staff

Canada might be best known for producing world-class hockey players, but its sports legacy runs much deeper. From legends like Christine Sinclair to up-and-coming champions like Alphonso Davies, Canada has produced many outstanding soccer stars.

With the Canadian team taking a spot in the 2022 World Cup later this month, there’s never been a better time to review some of the top soccer players in the country. Without further ado, here's our list of the top 10 best Canadian soccer players of all time.

1. Christine Sinclair

It's no surprise that Christine Sinclair takes the top spot as the best Canadian player of all time. With more than 185 goals in her career so far, she's known as the best international scorer for both male and female players.

Sinclair first came to prominence in the groundbreaking 2002 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship, where she scored 10 goals. Some of her top highlights include winning gold at the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020 and scoring pivotal goals toward her team's bronze medals in London 2012 and Rio 2016.

2. Owen Hargreaves

This midfielder may have played for England in the World Cup, but his soccer career started in his hometown of Calgary. Now, he’s considered one of the most famous Canadian soccer players to ever break out on the international scene.

Hargreaves joined England’s national men’s team in 2001 and was invited to play in his first World Cup the following year. After his stellar performance in the 2006 World Cup, he became England’s player of the year.

Outside of his World Cup career, he won the Champions League twice — once in 2001 with Bayern Munich and again in 2008 with Manchester United.

Owen Hargreaves, pictured in action for Manchester City. (Action Images / Carl Recine)
Owen Hargreaves, pictured in action for Manchester City. (Action Images / Carl Recine)

3. Craig Forrest

While not many goalkeepers make it to this kind of historic list, Coquitlam, B.C.’s Craig Forrest made his mark on the scene. During his career, he played for clubs like Chelsea, Ipswich Town and West Ham United. In total, he made 56 international appearances representing Canada — the most ever for a Canadian goalkeeper.

The real highlight of his career was his performance in the 2000 CONCACAF Gold Cup. Named the tournament’s most valuable player and top goalkeeper, Forrest made two stunning penalty kick saves to lead Canada to victory.

4. Charmaine Hooper

Many soccer fans consider Charmaine Hooper their inspiration, and it's not hard to see why. Before she retired in 2006, she was a star in the international women's soccer scene. With 71 goals and 14 assists, she was voted Canadian Women’s Player of the Year in 1994, 1995 and 2002.

Some of her top game highlights include her famous goal in the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup and two goals in a 3-0 win over the U.S. team in the 2001 Algarve Cup.

5. Randy Samuel

Randy Samuel wasn't known for his technical skills, but he still managed to become a well-respected player. Feared for his rugged style and aggressive tactics, this Trinidad-born defender represented Canada with 82 caps for the country between 1983 and 1997.

Over his career, he spent time playing in clubs in the Netherlands, North America and England. His career highlights include helping his team win the 1990 North American Nations Cup and 1985 CONCACAF championship.

6. Alphonso Davies

Alphonso Davies is young, but he’s quickly becoming an unstoppable force in the international soccer scene. At only 21 years old, he’s already become the face of Canadian soccer.

Davies became the youngest player to play for the Canadian men’s national team in 2017, as well as the youngest player to score at the CONCACAF Gold Cup. He went on to be named the 2021 CONCACAF Men’s Player of the Year. While still early in his career, he’s already regarded as one of the best full-backs in the world.

Alphonso Davies has already produced quite a legacy. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)
Alphonso Davies has already produced quite a legacy. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

7. Julian de Guzman

Julian de Guzman is considered one of the legends of Canadian soccer. He has the highest number of appearances in Canada with nearly 90 during his career.

Football fans may also remember him for winning the CONCACAF Gold Cup Most Valuable Player in 2007 and the Men's Canadian Player of the Year award in 2008.

8. Scott Arfield

Scott Arfield may have started out playing for Scotland's U-21 national team, but he later made his mark as one of the most notable players in Canada. Although he retired from international soccer earlier this year, Arfield was one of the nation's best for more than two decades.

As the captain of the national team in 2018, he participated in two CONCACAF Gold Cups and the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers.

9. Karina LeBlanc

With more than 100 games for Canada under her belt, Karina LeBlanc was a leader in women’s soccer from 1998 to 2015. She was the first player to participate in five FIFA Women's World Cup tournaments.

One of her top career highlights was making two saves in Canada’s first-place win in the Pan-Am games in 2011.

10. Junior Hoilett

As a winger, Junior Hoilett has hundreds of appearances under his belt and is soon to make his 48th for Canada. While he’s played mostly in the English Premier League — playing for Cardiff City, Queens Park Rangers and Blackburn Rovers — he made his debut for Canada in 2015.

With his two assists in the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup, Hoilett set the record for most assists in the history of Canada's men’s national team.

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