Twenty-five year-old professional soccer player Jaelene Hinkle had dreamed about playing on the U.S. women’s national soccer team for her whole life.
But when push came to shove, she decided staying true to her Christian beliefs was far more important.
The defender, who currently plays for the North Carolina Courage of the National Women’s Soccer League, has previously made eight appearances with the national team.
Last summer, though, as she recounted to CBN’s “The 700 Club” in an interview released Wednesday, she found out the national team would be celebrating LGBTQ Pride Month by wearing special jerseys.
At that point, she realized she couldn’t in good conscience wear one of those jerseys, so she declined a call-up from the squad.
“I just felt so convicted in my spirit that it wasn’t my job to wear this jersey,” Hinkle said. “I gave myself three days to just seek and pray and determine what (God) was asking me to do in this situation.”
Hinkle knew she was giving up her lifelong dream, but more importantly, she knew it was the right thing to do.
“I’m essentially giving up the one dream little girls dream about their entire life and I’m saying no to it,” she said. “I think there’s where the peace trumps the disappointment. I knew in my spirit I was doing the right thing. I knew I was being obedient.”
Since refusing to play, Hinkle has not been called up again.
Hinkle has previously taken to social media to indicate she opposes homosexual marriage for religious reasons. Back in June 2015, when the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage, she said on Instagram that though she believes it to be wrong, she hoped the ruling would help Christians become “much more loving.”
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Jesus didn't come to save those who already believed in Him. He came so that the lost, rejected, and abandoned men and women would find Him and believe. I believe with every fiber in my body that what was written 2,000 years ago in the Bible is undoubtedly true. It's not a fictional book. It's not a pick and choose what you want to believe. You either believe it, or you don't. This world may change, but Christ and His Word NEVER will. My heart is that as Christians we don't begin to throw a tantrum over what has been brought into law today, but we become that much more loving. That through our love, the lost, rejected, and abandoned find Christ. The rainbow was a convent made between God and all his creation that never again would the world be flooded as it was when He destroyed the world during Noah's time. It's a constant reminder that no matter how corrupt this world becomes, He will never leave us or forsake us. Thank you Lord for your amazing grace, even during times of trial and confusion. Love won over 2,000 years ago when the greatest sacrifice of all time was made for ALL mankind. ❤️💜💛💚💙
Hinkle’s recent interview earned her boos at the Courage’s game in Portland on Wednesday, per The Oregonian. However, she also seems to have earned the respect of her head coach and at least one teammate.
“She’s got a good heart, and she battled through the game. It’s not an easy thing for her,” Courage coach Paul Riley said, according to The Associated Press. “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. It doesn’t seem to affect anybody on the team.”
Courage forward Jessica McDonald, meanwhile, praised Hinkle’s devotion to her faith.
“She’s high on her faith and in my opinion, I think that’s absolutely incredible,” McDonald said. “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. Everyone has their opinions about The Bible and God. It’s obviously not in my control what she thinks.”
“At the end of the day, I’m still going to be friends with her,” she 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 judgement on another human being, I think it’s sort of uncalled for. She’s got her opinions. That’s fine. Everybody does. It hasn’t affected our team at all.”
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