‘You do have a very activist team. It’s very much a part of the program…’
(Claire Russel, Liberty Headlines) The U.S. women’s soccer team may have deliberately snubbed one of the best players in the nation because of her religious beliefs.
Jaelene Hinkle, a 26-year-old professional athlete who many have called the top left defender in the U.S., was denied a spot on the national team.
Hinkle has played for the national team more than eight times, but turned down a 2017 offer to join the national team again after she found out the players would wear rainbow-themed jerseys to celebrate Gay Pride Month, according to Yahoo Sports.
The uniforms would have violated her religious beliefs, she said at the time.
“I just felt so convicted in my spirit that it wasn’t my job to wear this jersey,” she told “The 700 Club” in a May 2018 interview. “I gave myself three days to just seek and pray and determine what [God] was asking me to do in this situation.”
Coach Jill Ellis told reporters that the decision to not invite Hinkle back on the national field was “solely based on soccer,” but not everyone buys it.
“You do have a very activist team. It’s very much a part of the program,” said John Stonestreet, president of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview in Colorado Springs, Colorado. “And if we were talking about just any player, it wouldn’t be really clear, but just because of her abilities — Jaelene Hinkle is a heck of a player — it makes it that much more suspect.”
Hinkle understood that her decision not to play with the team in 2017 could mean she’d never be invited back up again.
“If I never get a national team call-up again, that’s just part of his plan and that’s ok,” she said. “And maybe this was why you were meant to play soccer. Just to show other believers to be obedient.”
She did, however, get another call in 2018, and the reaction was fierce.
An article published by Slate said that “by giving Jaelene Hinkle a roster spot, U.S. soccer sold out its LGBTQ fans and players.”
SBNation sportswriter Kim McCauley then called her a “vocal homophobe,” according to the Washington Times.
Shortly after, Hinkle was cut from the roster.
Hinkle said she’s “disappointed” by the U.S. team’s decision.
“I’m essentially giving up the one dream little girls dream about their entire life,” she told the “700 Club.” “It was very disappointing. And I think that’s where the peace trumps the disappointment, because I knew in my spirit I was doing the right thing. I knew I was being obedient. Just because you’re obedient doesn’t make it easy.”