Ashlyn Harris, the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team goalkeeper, called professional soccer player Jaelene Hinkle “homophobic” because she did not join the team in 2017, guided by her Christian faith.
Harris shared a tweet in which she expresses her opinion regarding Hinkle’s decision.
“Hinkle, our team is about inclusion. Your religion was never the problem. The problem is your intolerance and you are homophobic. You don’t belong in a sport that aims to unite and bring people together. You would never fit into our pack or what this team stands for,” she said in her tweet.
The Christian soccer player refused to participate in international friendly matches with the national team when she learned the players would be wearing “Gay Pride Month” shirts, and she was not willing to do the same, The Washington Times reported.
“I felt very convinced in my spirit that it wasn’t for me to wear that shirt,” Hinkle told Christian Broadcasting Network’s “The 700 Club” in a May 2018 video on the subject. “And I gave myself three days to search, pray, and determine what [God] asked me to do in this situation,” said the soccer star, quoted from the Christian Broadcasting Network.
These statements drew criticism and booing, but she was defended by Paul Riley, her team’s coach, and striker Jessica McDonald.
Riley praised her judgment in an interview with ESPN: “I give her a lot of credit to be perfectly honest with you,” Riley said. “Whatever her beliefs are, whatever she believes in, that’s her. It doesn’t affect the team, it doesn’t seem to affect anybody on the team.”
Also, her teammate McDonald said: “She’s high on her faith, and in my opinion, I think that’s absolutely incredible. If she’s for God, 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,” according to The Daily Signal.
Obianuju Ekeocha, of the philanthropic group Culture of Life Africa, said the national team “was not a very welcoming place for Christians,” according to Newsweek, referring to Hinkle’s comments in the interview with “The 700 Club.”
Hinkle was not called to play for the women’s national team that participated in this year’s World Cup, and the same media postulated that it may have been due to her position in 2017, in which she gave priority to her beliefs.
The U.S. team won the Women’s World Cup title this year and drew attention to the absence of one of its best athletes, which appears to have been caused by a political decision, according to the Washington Times.
Jaelene Hinkle, 26, a member of the North Carolina Courage professional team, is considered one of the best defenders in the country.