OMAHA, Neb. – A family is angry over the way a soccer tournament treated their eight-year-old daughter’s team.
Mili Hernandez’s team was disqualified because organizers thought she was a boy.
However, Hernandez, who says she loves soccer, just loves her short haircut.
“When my hair starts to grow, I put it short because I always had short hair, and I didn’t like my hair long,” Hernandez says.
She plays soccer for Omaha’s “Azzuri Cachorros” girls’ club team.
Despite being only 8-years-old, Hernandez is on the 11-year-old roster.
This past weekend, Hernandez helped lead her team to the finals of the Springfield Soccer Club Girls’ Tournament. But before taking the field on Sunday, Hernandez and her team were suddenly disqualified, as Springfield Soccer Organizers believed she was a boy.
“She was in shock,”Mili’s father Gerardo Hernandez, said. “She was even crying after they told us.”
“Just because I look like a boy, doesn’t mean I am a boy, but they don’t have a reason to kick the whole club out,” Mili Hernandez said.
The Hernandez family says they showed Mili’s insurance card to tournament organizers to prove she’s a girl, but it wasn’t enough.
“They didn’t want to listen,” Cruz Hernandez said. “They said that the president had made his decision and there wasn’t any changing that.
Hernandez said that she doesn’t believe this was fair and was ‘not happy’ with what happened to her but she won’t let this stop her from playing.
“Just because I can’t play here, there’s other tournaments that I can play,” Hernandez said.
Former U.S. Women’s soccer star Mia Hamm invited Hernandez to play at her camp.
Hey Mili, we would love to host you at one of our camps @TeamFirstSA . Be you!
— Mia Hamm (@MiaHamm) June 5, 2017
And Abby Wambach reached out to Hernandez to show her support as well.
Mili, don't EVER let anyone tell you that you aren't perfect just as you are.i won championships with short hair https://t.co/WlfL3EIPic
— Abby Wambach (@AbbyWambach) June 5, 2017
Springfield Soccer Club organizers declined to comment but said that the Hernandez family can appeal the ruling to the Nebraska State Soccer Association.