A promising young professional soccer player turned down an opportunity to play for the U.S. Women's National Team last year because she refused to wear the team's LGBTQ Pride Month jersey, the player told "The 700 Club" in a recently released interview.
Jaelene Hinkle, a 25-year-old defender who currently plays for the North Carolina Courage, cited her Christian faith as the reason for turning down a call-up many players only dream of.
What's the story?
Hinkle made what was, at the time, a shocking decision last June to withdraw from the national team, and said the national team's LGBTQ Pride Month celebration led to her decision.
When she announced the decision, she simply said she was withdrawing for "personal reasons." Still, there was speculation even then that her faith and opposition to the pride jerseys was the reason.
She finally confirmed her reason for withdrawing from the team in an interview with "The 700 Club" last week, during which she discussed the difficulty she had in making the decision.
Hinkle had played for the national team several times before; however, since her decision to refuse last year's call-up, she has not been given any further opportunities.
What did she say about it?
Hinkle told "The 700 Club" that she felt God led her to make the decision, but she was conflicted because playing for the national team was a lifelong dream.
"I just felt so convicted in my spirit that it wasn't my job to wear this jersey," Hinkle said in the interview. "And I gave myself three days to just seek and pray and determine what He was asking of me to do in the situation. I'm essentially giving up the one dream little girls dream about their entire life, and I'm saying no to. It was very disappointing."
After her faith-based reasons became public, Hinkle was booed at a Wednesday night match against the Portland Thorns. A fan brought a rainbow-colored sign that read "personal reasons," mocking Hinkle's decision.
Hinkle said she knew what she was putting at risk by following what she believes was God's instruction, and she has come to terms with that.
"If I never get a national team call-up again, that's just part of his plan and that's OK," Hinkle said. "And maybe this was why you were meant to play soccer. Just to show other believers to be obedient."