Whitecaps lose Sinclair to new women's pro league - The Province

Marc Weber Burnaby's Christine Sinclair is headed to Women's Professional Soccer. Sinclair, who played for the Whitecaps in 2006-07 and made a cameo appearance this Olympic year, was selected eighth overall by Bay Area [San Francisco], as the WPS released its international draft results Wednesday. Seven teams will start play in 2009: Bay Area, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New Jersey/New York, St. Louis, and Washington, D.C. Dallas, Atlanta and Philadelphia are set to join in 2010. Whitecaps president Bob Lenarduzzi said his club -- which runs a women's team in the USL W-League -- had no plans to apply for a WPS franchise. Interestingly, two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash and former Yahoo president Jeff Mallett are investors and part-owners in WPS. Nash and Mallett recently threw their financial support behind the Whitecaps' Major League Soccer bid. "We've been kept abreast of the league all along, and we continue to have dialogue with them," said Lenarduzzi. "But we've got a lot of balls in the air right now [MLS bid, waterfront stadium proposal], so we need to sit back and concentrate on those things." Four of the top five players picked were Brazilian, including Marta going to Los Angeles. Her teammate Formiga went first overall to Bay Area. The other Canadians picked were Melissa Tancredi and Kelly Parker. NATIONAL TEAM COACH BIRARDA WILL NOT APPLY Vancouver Whitecaps and Canadian women's under-20 head coach Bob Birarda will not apply for the vacant senior national team head coaching job. Even Pellerud stepped down after the Olympics, having held the position for nine years. "I've made a decision that I'm not going to apply," Birarda said of the Oct. 15 deadline. "I have two young kids, and this is a really challenging lifestyle. I'm not sure how much longer I have ambitions to stay at this level." Birarda, instead, has thrown his support behind former World Cup player and Victoria native Ian Bridge, considered by many to be the frontrunner. "When you look at what he's accomplished and his dedication to the players, he deserves an opportunity, I think," said Birarda. U20 WOMEN CHILE WARMUP Canada's under-20 women's soccer team returned to Vancouver this week from Chile, where they won a four-nations World Cup warmup tournament. Jonelle Filigno scored in a 1-0 victory over the host to clinch the trophy. Canada also beat Mexico 2-1 and drew 1-1 with New Zealand, improving its 2008 record to 8-0-2 under Vancouver Whitecaps head coach Bob Birarda. The squad includes several Whitecaps and local players, including Delta's Julie Armstrong and 17-year-old Monica Lam-Feist of Surrey. "None of the games were easy for us," said Birarda. "We were maybe a bit rusty to start, but by the end of it, we were able to put together a pretty convincing performance against Chile." The tournament also served as acclimatization for the women's under-20 World Cup, which is in Chile, starting Nov. 19. Canada is in Group C with Germany, Congo DR and Japan. © The Vancouver Province 2008