- The Washington Times - Monday, September 26, 2016

A Christian high school boys soccer team in Arizona cited religious beliefs in forfeiting a match against an opposing team with two female players.

The boys soccer team at Faith Christian School in Mesa refused to play against Foothills Academy College Prep on Friday because midfielders Alyssa and Collette Hocking were on the team, The Arizona Republic reported.

“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.

“It is based on a religious perspective that God created guys and girls differently,” he explained. “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.

“We’re the ones harmed because we’re giving up a game. We think it’s better to do that than give a mixed message,” Mr. Buckingham added.

Faith Christian, a member of the Canyon Athletic Association (CAA), unwittingly took the field earlier this season against a team with a female member on it.

“I was only aware of it after the fact,” Mr. Buckingham said. “I decided what to do in the future. I understand the league rules allow it. That’s fine. We’re trying to be consistent in our training of our young men.”

CAA Executive Director Randy Baum said the organization allows for girls to play on boys teams if their school doesn’t have a girls team, The Republic reported.

He said the executive board will rule Friday’s game a forfeit because it is a violation of the bylaws, The Republic reported.

This isn’t the first time a boys team has refused to play against Alyssa and Collette. Their mother pulled them out of a game last week against Our Lady of Sorrows so the Foothills team didn’t have to forfeit.

This time the Foothills team stuck by their female players, voting not to play unless Alyssa and Colette could as well. Their refusal to sit-out the girls led to Faith Christian’s decision to forfeit.

“Actually, it was the team’s decision,” Foothills coach Steven Rains told The Republic. “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.”

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