An Arizona high school boys soccer team forfeited a match against an opponent because there were two girls on the team.
The Arizona Republic reported Friday the Mesa Faith Christian wouldn’t play Foothills Academy College Prep school because midfielders Alyssa and Collette Hocking were on the team. Mesa Faith Christian decided to forfeit the game against the Scottsdale high school instead of playing the game.
"I know it appears to fly in the face of what everyone is wanting to promote today, and that is equality," said Dick Buckingham, the administrative leader of Mesa Faith Christian. "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.
"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."
Mesa Faith Christian already played a game in the Canyon Athletic Association (CAA) against a team that had a girl on it. Buckingham said he was only aware of it after the fact.
"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,” he added.
It’s not the first time this happened to Foothills Academy College Prep. The team drove an hour to face Our Lady of Sorrows only to be told the opposing team wouldn’t take the field unless the girls sat out. Foothills Academy Prep played the game, but coach Steven Rains said the team made the decision not keep the girls out when playing Mesa Faith Christian.
"They would not play without their team,” Rains told The Republic. “They felt the girls earned the right to be on the team. And they won't play without them."
The schools that play in the conference are small which allows girls to play on the boys team if the school doesn’t have a girls team, executive director Randy Baum said. He said Friday’s game was ruled a forfeit because it was a violation of the conference’s rules.
Alyssa and Collette Hocking both said they were happy they received support from their teammates and they were proud to be a part of the team.