• Mili Hernandez speaks to WOWT 6 News about her experience being disqualified because the tournament organisers believed she was a boy. (WOWT 6 News (screenshot).)
The eight-year-old girl, Mili Hernandez, was devastated to learn that her entire team was disqualified from a local tournament, purely because the organisers refused to believe she was a girl.
By
Chloe Sargeant

8 Jun 2017 - 10:52 AM  UPDATED 8 Jun 2017 - 3:10 PM

Mili Hernandez is eight years old, and she absolutely loves soccer. 

She plays for Omaha's Azzuri Cachorros girls club in the USA and is so advanced for her age, she's already been put on the 11-year-old roster.

However, she was devastated to learn recently that her team had been disqualified on the last day of the Springfield Soccer Club girls tournament.

Media reports say the team was stopped before they could even get to the pitch for the final day, with organisers telling the team that they would not be going ahead - because Mili "was a boy". Reportedly, someone had complained that the Azzuri Cachorros had a boy on the team.

In a desperate attempt to fix the situation, Mili's father Gerardo Hernandez grabbed his daughter's insurance card, (which clearly lists her gender), but said that organisers “didn’t even want to take it - they told us the thing was decided.”

Hernandez told WOWT 6 News that his daughter was in shock: "She was crying after they told us... They made her cry."

Mili told the news outlet that she doesn't like having long hair, she simply prefers her hair short. 

"When my hair starts to grow I put it short because I've always had short hair. I didn't like my hair long.

"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."

"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 Springfield Soccer Association has now said that a misprint in the roster had identified Hernandez as a boy, which was a “violation of state and tournament rules”. However, the Washington Post reports that Hernandez was clearly marked down as 'female' on other forms. 

Mili's story has ended up getting some heavy community support - including some very famous names in women's soccer. 

Mia Hamm, a two-time Olympic gold medallist and co-owner of Los Angeles FC, invited Mili to her soccer camp, the Team First Academy camp:

And another two-time gold medalist, retired women's soccer champion Abby Wambach also tweeted her support for Mili, assuring her that she loves short hair too:

Wambach then went ahead and posted a supportive and emotional video for Mili, telling her to always be true to herself. 

"'I'm so proud of you,' Wambach said in the Instagram video. "'You can do anything you want to do, and you can be anything you want to be'."

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