After declining a spot on the U.S. Women’s Soccer National Team last summer, NC Courage defender Jaelene Hinkle is back in the fold for the upcoming Tournament of Nations, which begins July 26 in Kansas City.
Hinkle, 25, opted out of playing for the USWNT in June 2017, citing citing faith-based objections to team’s choice to promote LGBTQ Pride Month by wearing rainbow-themed jerseys in matches.
Hinkle and five other Courage players were named to the 25-player training camp roster for the Tournament of Nations. The team will carry 23 players into the tournament.
Hinkle, a Christian, shared more about the difficulty of deciding to turn down the spot — as well as how a blood clot in her leg nearly ended her career in college — in an interview with the 700 Club in May.
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“I just felt so convicted in my spirit that it wasn’t my job to wear this jersey,” she said in the interview. “And I gave myself three days to just seek and pray and determine what (God) was asking me to do in this situation.”
Hinkle, who was the seventh overall pick in the NWSL Draft in 2015, also said in the interview that if she was not given another chance to play for the USWNT, “That’s just part of His plan and that’s OK.”
Hinkle’s Courage teammates Crystal Dunn, Samantha Mewis, Abby Dahlkemper, Merritt Mathias and McCall Zerboni were also invited to the training camp.
Days after the interview aired, the Courage were on the road in Portland, and Hinkle was booed every time she touched the ball.
As NWSL front-runners, the Courage recently clinched a playoff spot with seven weeks remaining and are a whopping 16 points ahead of second place.
The Tournament of Nations schedule for the USWNT is as follows: vs. Japan, July 26 in Kansas City; vs. Australia, July 29 in East Hartford, Conn.; vs. Brazil, Aug. 2 in Bridgeview, Ill.