Jackie Pope scored 11 goals for Lonestar SC during the 2018 season. [Photo Provided]
Jackie Pope always knew she would return home to Austin, Texas.
Pope’s soccer career has taken her across the United States. In college, she featured at the University of Tennessee for one season before transferring to Southern Nazarene University in Bethany, Oklahoma.
After college, she played for WPSL clubs such as Oklahoma City FC and the Houston Aces. Then, Pope’s soccer career took off when she joined the Portland Thorns of the National Women’s Soccer League in 2014. She made two appearances for the Thorns.
During her career, she also featured for the Mexican Women’s National Team. Pope made her senior international debut on Nov. 24, 2013, in a friendly against Canada. After some time with the youth national teams of U.S. Soccer, Pope joined the Mexican youth teams, featuring in the 2006 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup.
After the NWSL and Mexican national team phase of her life was over, Pope – whose maiden name is Jackie Acevedo – joined Lonestar SC as a player and coach in 2015.
When she coaches, Pope is in charge of Lonestar SC’s U-11, U-12 and U-13 sides. Pope said she enjoys coaching the younger generation of soccer players because of their passion for the game.
“They want to work hard for you, and you can see how much love they have for the game,” Pope said. “It’s exciting with the young girls to see that it’s our next generation of soccer players. Seeing the passion these kids have for the game is incredible.”
However, the kids aren’t the only ones scoring goals and having fun.
Pope has been part of the Lonestar SC WPSL team since the inaugural season in 2017. Lonestar SC finished its second WPSL season with five wins in eight matches.
Pope led the club with 11 goals this season, including a hat trick in the season opener at Texas Titans. Her incredible season led to her unanimous selection as the 2018 South Texas Conference Offensive Player of the Year.
“It’s always nice to score goals,” Pope said. “Just to get out there and get some goals early on like we did was a confidence booster for me and the team, knowing that we have people who can score goals.”
Pope, who with Colleen Pitts and Sophia Mundy were Lonestar FC’s captains, is a positive role model for her follow teammates. She also wants to make sure the club’s players, primarily made up of college athletes, are fit and ready to go.
“We don’t see it as a summer league; we see it as representing our club in the best way possible,” Pope said. “As captains, we try to fulfill those expectations in training and in games. I think being a captain, it’s about being positive, helping the women understand that the chemistry is going to be hard right now and telling them that within our club, we can do it.”
Pope, who is married to fellow academy coach Zack Pope, said that being welcomed back to Lonestar SC is incredible.
“This is a family and you can only be on this team if you’re a former Lonestar player or a coach in the club,” Pope said. “It’s a privilege to be a part of this family and that does this for former players, current players, college players. It’s a true blessing to be a part of it and still have fun.”