Star Defender for National Women’s Soccer League Didn’t Play International Games Over LGBT Jersey: ‘I Was Being Obedient’

By Nancy Flory Published on June 2, 2018

“I am not one to believe in God but you have gotten a miracle.” 

That was what Jaelene Hinkle’s surgeon said when he found that the blood clot blocking 80 percent of the vein in her leg had disappeared. Hinkle, a soccer star at Texas Tech University had been expecting to need a stent put in to manage blood flow. She’d been expecting it to end her soccer career. She knew it was a miracle.  

She and her family had spent the night before the surgery praying. She’d made a promise to God: “If you want me to play soccer, this is gonna be for You.” She kept that promise. “I wanted to know everything and anything about the Lord,” she recalled in a recent interview with CBN. The interview was posted on YouTube Wednesday.

I Know He’s Faithful

Her faith had been tested. In 2017 she was drafted in the women’s professional league, playing as a defender for the North Carolina Courage National Soccer Team. She was also invited to play for the U.S. in two international friendly games. Hinkle knew it was a huge opportunity. 

Only days before the games, Hinkle learned that the jerseys were designed to pay tribute to the LGBT community for Pride Month. They sported rainbow colors and the word “Pride” on the back. She felt convicted in her spirit that she wasn’t supposed to wear the jersey. “I gave myself three days to just seek and pray and determine what He was asking me to do in this situation.” Hinkle ended up withdrawing from the games. She had the support of her teammates. She’d dreamed about this opportunity her whole life. But she wasn’t going. “It was very disappointing.”

But peace overcame her disappointment. “I knew I was doing the right thing. I knew that I was being obedient. Just because you’re obedient doesn’t make it easy. I don’t question His goodness. I know He’s good, I know He’s faithful.”

High on Faith

Wednesday night the Courage played the Portland Thorns. When Hinkle’s name was called during the starting lineup, some people booed. Rainbow flags waved in the wind. 

Hinkle didn’t talk to the press after the game. But teammate Jessica McDonald did. “She is high on her faith, and in my honest option that’s absolutely incredible. If she’s for God, then that’s fine, that’s great if that’s what keeps her going in her life and keeps positivity in her life, then let that be.”

“At the end of the day, I’m still going to be friends with her,” McDonald added. “We have no problems with each other. She’s never said anything bad about me. She never said anything bad about anybody. So, for people to pass on that kind of judgment on another human being, I think it’s sort of uncalled for.”

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Even her coach, Paul Riley, defended her. “She’s got a good heart, and she battled through the game. It’s not an easy thing for her. I give her a lot of credit to be perfectly honest. Whatever her beliefs are, whatever she believes in, that’s her. It doesn’t affect the team.”

If she never gets another call up she’ll know it was in His plan. “Maybe this was why [I was] meant to play soccer — Just to show other believers to be obedient.”

The Courage won the game 4-1. 

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