Christian soccer player Jaelene Hinkle has withdrawn from the U.S. women's national team's Scandinavia tour this year, according to a press release from U.S. Soccer.
Hinkle, 24, was called into the national camp to play international friendlies against Sweden and Norway this month, but on Tuesday, the national team stated in a press release that she has withdrawn for "personal reasons." She has not been replaced on the roster, reducing the American squad to 19 players.
The announcement came two weeks after U.S. Soccer revealed plans to celebrate LGBT pride month with specially designed rainbow-numbered jerseys. In May, the federation announced that it would recognize the LGBT community in June by customizing jerseys for the men and women's national team's respective friendlies.
There have been speculations that Hinkle's withdrawal was prompted by the U.S. Soccer's celebration of LGBT pride month.
Hinkle, who is a defender for the National Women's Soccer League's North Carolina Courage, has been vocal about her staunch conservative and religious views.
After the Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage in 2015, she converted a gay pride logo into a celebration of the cross on Instagram and shared her thoughts on the decision.
"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," she wrote, as reported by The Christian Post.
"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," she continued.
She further noted that the rainbow, despite its current affiliation with the gay pride movement, is a symbol of God's promise to mankind to never flood the Earth again.
"It's a constant reminder that no matter how corrupt this world becomes, He will never leave us or forsake us," she said.
LGBT advocates who criticized Hinkle online for expressing her Christian beliefs said they were looking forward to her wearing the gay pride jerseys.
According to the New York Post, the women's team is set to wear shirts that feature rainbow-colored numbers with the word "Pride" in place of the player's last names in the game against Sweden on Thursday and Norway on Sunday.
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