A typo on a form led to officials kicking this girl out of an all-girl soccer tournament.
Milagros “Mili” Hernandez, a young soccer star in Nebraska, was recently questioned about her gender during a tournament due to the length of her hair. Hernandez and her team, the Azzurri Achurros club team of Omaha, Neb., were playing in the all-girls Springfield Soccer Club tournament and advanced to the finals after winning two games. According to The Washington Post, hours before Hernandez and her team were set to take the field to play for trophies, her father, the coach of the team, got a phone call from officials saying the team had been disqualified for having a boy on the team. The complaints came from coaches of the losing teams saying that Mili was a boy (due to her short hair). A typo on the roster for the tournament had also identified her as a boy. ABC 13 reports that Mili’s father went to officials for the tournament and took her health insurance card, which identifies her has female, to clear up the issue. Officials wouldn’t listen and stood by the disqualification.
“She tried to keep her composure, but you could see it in her face that she felt bad about it,” Mili’s brother told The Washington Post about how his sister reacted to the confusing news. “She felt like she let her whole team down.”
As for the short hair, Gerardo told The Washington Post that he has kept her hair short since an early age when she started playing soccer. As she got older, she was asked if she wanted to let it grow out. She said no and asked for it to be kept short.
The news of Mili’s team disqualification has made significant waves in the soccer world, prompting reactions from soccer stars like Abby Wambach.
“Hey Mili Hernandez. Abby Wambach here. Listen, I’ve heard the news and all I can say is that your courage to want to stand up and talk about it and your bravery is going to help that next kid who’s put in a similar situation,” Wambach said in her Instagram post to Mili. Wambach added:
“You’re inspiring. You’re a natural born leader, honey and I am so proud of you. I want to tell you a few things. First of all, you don’t look like a boy, you look like a girl with short hair and that’s okay. Also, I know somebody else who has short hair. She’s won gold medals, a World Cup, U.S. Soccer Player of the Year, and FIFA Player of the Year. You can do anything you want to do and you can be anything you want to be and guess what. You can look like whatever you need to look like to do it.”
U.S. Women’s National Team legend Mia Hamm also extended an invitation to Mili to join her as a guest at the Team First Soccer Academy, to train with professional women’s soccer players.
Mili’s father has told news outlets that his daughter is okay and is continuing her dream to play soccer.