Mili Hernandez loves playing soccer and the eight-year-old from Omaha, Nebraska is so good, she plays on the 11-year-old team. Last weekend, she helped her team move on to the finals of the Springfield Soccer Club girls’ tournament, but before they hit the field, organizers disqualified Mili and her team. And their reason? They said Mili “looked like a boy” because she has short hair. Seriously!
According to Mili’s dad, Gerardo Hernandez, they found out hours before the match that they weren’t allowed to play, so he took his daughter and her insurance card – which lists her gender as female – down to explain. But he says they wouldn’t talk to him about it and told him it was all decided.
Of course, Mili was devastated. Not only that she couldn’t play, but that she let her team down, too. And this kid loves her hair cut short, so to be accused of being a boy because of her hairstyle made it all worse.
“Just because I look like a boy doesn’t mean I am a boy,” Mili says. “They don’t have a reason to kick the whole club out.”
The Springfield Soccer Club organizers haven’t publicly commented on the incident yet, but the Internet is throwing support behind Mili. Soccer stars Mia Hamm and Abby Wambach have reached out to her on social media. “Mili,” Wambach tweeted, “don’t EVER let anyone tell you that you aren’t perfect just as you are. I won championships with short hair.”
Update: The Springfield Soccer Club has put out a statement claiming that the whole incident was due to a misprint in the team’s roster.