The Foothills Academy College Prep (Scottsdale, Ariz.) boys soccer team played without its two female players the first time a team objected to the sisters’ presence.
Foothills had driven an hour to play Our Lady of Sorrows (Phoenix), which said it wouldn’t take the field because of the female players.
Foothills lost that game, its first of the season, in overtime.
This time, when Mesa’s Faith Christian told the Scottsdale high school the same thing, citing religious beliefs, the male players had the sisters’ back.
The players voted not to play unless midfielders Alyssa and Colette Hocking were allowed to play.
“Actually, it was the team’s decision,” Foothills coach Steven Rains said. “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.”
So, on Friday at Scottsdale Sports Complex, Faith Christian forfeited the Canyon Athletic Association high school 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, administrative leader of 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.”
“I was like, ‘I don’t want this stuff to hurt the boys,’ ” Avey said. “When it happened again, things changed.
“I would like to stress the outstanding character the boys on this team have shown by standing with their female teammates. I can’t say enough about these boys, this team, the team parents, our coach, and our athletic director for supporting our female athletes. I believe one aspect of sport is that it brings different religions, races and genders together.
“This incident has brought our Foothills team together even more and made it even stronger. This team has shown they respect female athletes and don’t discriminate against them.”