Christian soccer player Jaelene Hinkle has withdrawn from the U.S. Soccer team just two weeks after the organization announced that members of both the men’s and women’s teams will be donning rainbow-colored jerseys in honor of LGBT pride month.
Hinkle, a former defender for the North Carolina Courage, left the national team for “personal reasons,” according to a U.S. Soccer news release. Before leaving, she was on the roster to play friendlies against Sweden and Norway this month.
While it is not immediately clear if her departure is directly related to the National Women’s Soccer League’s decision to celebrate gay pride, Hinkle, 24, has not shied away from taking bold stances on the issue in the past.
In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark 2015 ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges legalizing same-sex marriage across the country, Hinkle posted a tweet acknowledging that the world “is falling farther and farther away from God.”
And she made her opinion even clearer in an Instagram post that same day.
“I believe with every fiber in my body that what was written 2,000 years ago in the Bible is undoubtedly true,” Hinkle wrote alongside an image of the cross. “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,” she continued. “The rainbow was a convent [sic] 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.”
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.
A post shared by Jaelene Hinkle (@jaelenehinkle) on
The U.S. Soccer team announced in late May that it would be honoring the LGBT community throughout the month of June by customizing the men’s and women’s jerseys to include rainbow coloring during the teams’ respective friendlies.
The jerseys feature rainbow-colored numbers and in place of the player’s last name is the word “pride.”
🇺🇸 x 🏳️🌈. To celebrate LGBTQ Pride month, the #USMNT and #USWNT will wear pride-inspired rainbow numbers. Details… https://t.co/KC9XiMYVms— U.S. Soccer MNT (@U.S. Soccer MNT)1495818224.0
U.S. Soccer has also partnered with the You Can Play Project, which “works to ensure the safety and inclusion of all in sports — including LGBTQ athletes, coaches, and fans,” with a commemorative rainbow-colored “One Nation. One Team.” hat.
In total, Hinkle made eight appearances with the senior national team. Her first call-up was in 2015, when she played against Brazil, according to the New York Post. Head coach Jill Ellis is not planning on replacing Hinkle on the roster. The American women will wear the shirts against Sweden on Thursday and Norway on Sunday.