Last week, a high school boys’ soccer team in Mesa, Ariz., opted to forfeit a game because the opposing team had two female players.
According to Richard Obert of AZCentral.com, Faith Christian School cited religious beliefs as its reason for declining to play against Foothills Academy College Prep’s soccer team, of which sisters Alyssa and Collete Hocking are members.
“I know it appears to fly in the face of what everyone is wanting to promote today, and that is equality,” said Dick Buckingham, administrative leader of Faith Christian, to Obert. “It is based on a religious perspective that God created guys and girls differently. The difference physically, there is a strength advantage that men have over women. We want to teach our men that honor of ladies is just not in sports. We struggle how to teach that if we’re allowing them to play against young ladies in a competitive game.”
According to Obert, Foothills had already confronted this situation with a different school, Our Lady of Sorrows, earlier this year. For that game, the sisters’ mother decided to have them sit out so the rest of the team could play. This time around, however, the Foothills team refused to play without the Hockings.
“Actually, it was the team’s decision,” Foothills coach Steven Rains told Obert. “They would not play without their team. They felt the girls earned the right to be on the team. And they won’t play without them.”
In a statement on Faith Christian’s Facebook page, the school clarified that it reached out to Foothills prior to the game to express its concern about playing against the girls. When Foothills declined the request to have the Hocking sisters sit out, the school “accepted that and informed them and the league that we would forfeit the game,” more than 24 hours before the game was set to take place. The school also elaborated on its position:
A version of this news article first appeared in the Schooled in Sports blog.