I can’t comment on that, says Crystal Dunn, the US left back who isn’t really a left-back.
Many believe that the best professional left-back in the USA is Jaylene Henkel. A regular player for title-winning North Carolina Courage, she has played every minute of the season and is top of the nursing league.
They are world class cannons. So why shouldn’t the 26-year-old participate in the World Cup?
American journalists rarely seem to cover this topic. Partly because it’s been three years since Henkel last played in the national team.
But also because it’s sensitive.
I can’t comment on that. I’m not the captain of the national team, says fellow club member Crystal Dunn, USA’s first choice as a left back in the World Cup.
In the summer of 2017, Jaylen Henkel was transferred to the US international away matches against Sweden and Norway. But she did not go to Europe. A few days after the US announced that the team would play rainbow hues on its back, to draw attention to Pride Month, Hinkle withdrew from the group.
Since then, in one of the few interviews about the event, she is told that she has given up on the girl’s dream, and that she did so for religious reasons.
– I felt it was not my duty to wear this shirt. So I gave myself three days to search for answers and to pray, and decide what to advise me in this case. I knew I was doing the right thing mentally. If I’m not selected for the national team again, that’s just part of their plan, and then that’s okay, as fiercely religious Jillen Henkel said in an interview on The 700 Club on CBN last year.
The statement made her popular with the Christian right, less so than football fans. She was heavily criticized on social media and during the next matches in the league, she was outgrown and saw rainbow flags waving in the stands. On the field, she didn’t seem to be affected, and she continued to perform football at the highest level.
Last summer, she was looking forward to returning to the national team as both national team captain Jill Ellis and several players were openly gay, and also powerful gay icons. Hinkle was selected for the Championship of Nations, but after only three days of training, two players were eliminated. Hinkle was one of them, and has not had a chance since then. Ellis said the decision was purely athletic, but there are those who believe Hinkle was taken from the start just because otherwise, the national team risked being sued for discrimination.
Very sensitive is the fact that the United States will now play in the next World Cup Finals, against Sweden on Thursday, without an outstanding left back. First letter Crystal Dunn is actually a striker and teammate with Jaelene Hinkle in North Carolina.
– I play with her there and I think he’s a very good player. But this is a topic that I feel too far from being able to comment on, and Crystal Dunn says Hinkle is not on the team.