Erin McLeod and Ella Masar getting married is the best thing to happen in soccer today

This is the best thing you’ll see all day …

… and here’s why:

Erin McLeod (on the left) just finished being one of the best (and most under-appreciated) goalkeepers at the 2015 Women’s World Cup. She helped a goal-starved host nation, Canada, to the quarterfinals and now returns to her post in the National Women’s Soccer League, where she’s been one of the circuit’s best `keepers since the league’s inception in 2013. She’s got a strong case to being one of the top goalkeepers in the world.

So how does one of the world’s best goalkeepers celebrate a successful World Cup? By getting married, of course. But this was no ordinary marriage — not even by this country’s more open, Supreme Court-validated standards. Today on Twitter, McLeod announced her marriage to Ella Masar, her teammate with the Houston Dash — a marriage that completes an amazing and public voyage of self-awareness.

Masar has been a fan favorite for a long-time, be it for her cup of coffees with the U.S. women’s national team and (pre-overlord spending) Paris Saint-Germain, her troubling time with the now infamous magicJack debacle in Women’s Professional Soccer (seriously: read that), her writing or the outreach she’s done since the beginning of the NWSL. She’s a wonderfully open book, one that’s now completed an amazing arc.

Four years ago, Masar talked about reconciling her strict Christian faith in a sport that is particularly tolerant of homosexuality (newsflash: women’s professional soccer is):

My commitment to competing for Christ has given me opportunities to witness to my teammates and fans. I am often surrounded by people living ungodly lifestyles, specifically when it comes to homosexuality. As a Christian, sometimes I am ridiculed for not going along with the crowd, but I do my best to explain to them that, as a Christfollower, I still love them even though I am not going to agree with what they do. To me, that demonstration of love is a powerful witness for Him.

It’s hard to find malice in the way Masar discusses her faith, but “ungodly lifestyles” is strong. It’s also unambiguous.

Four years later, in a post at Pitchside Report titled merely “LOVE,” Masar shared her reconciliation. She had also found the love of her life, McLeod, and she was ready to enlighten the religious community that was questioning her:

You see, I have accepted my life, my actions, and my voice. I know that just because the religion I choose to live by is love, that does not mean you or anyone else has to follow. That’s where I understand that everyone is different. That God has made and numbered the hairs on our heads for a reason.This is where I have found my peace. Where your words brought tears to my partner’s eyes, for you to prove and share your point, my own reassured her of everything that she is to me.

That has always been my deal with Erin – that was my word to her. That love will always win.

(Emphasis Masar’s.)

On Monday, love won.


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