Mili Hernandez is an 8-year-old soccer player from Nebraska. She also has short hair. That was an issue for tournament organizers.
This past weekend she helped lead her club team, Omaha’s Azzuri Cachorros, to the Springfield Soccer Club girls tournament final, but her team ended up getting disqualified.
According to WOWT, Hernandez, who plays on an 11-year-old team at 8 years old, was told by tournament organizers that her team couldn’t continue because she looked “like a boy.”
Gerardo Hernandez told WOWT 6 News that his daughter “was in shock.” He continued: “She was crying after they told us… They made her cry.”
Mili added: “Just because I look like a boy doesn’t mean I am a boy. They don’t have a reason to kick the whole club out.”
The family said they even showed the tournament organizers Mili’s insurance information, which was listed as female. That wasn’t enough and tournament organizers have since stood by the decision, only saying that the team can appeal the disqualification.
As the news spread, USWNT legend Abby Wambach shared Mili’s story and spoke up for the 8-year-old with words of encouragement.
Moments later, Wambach said she would contact the tournament organizers herself.
Soccer legend Mia Hamm also reached out to Mili with an invitation to her camp.
Despite the disappointment, Mili says she will continue to play soccer. And now, she has some of U.S. soccer’s biggest names rooting for her