Former U.S. soccer stars Abby Wambach and Mia Hamm are offering support to an eight-year-old Nebraska girl who says her team was disqualified from a youth soccer tournament because she says she looks like a boy.
WOWT-TV reports Mili Hernandez’s team had advanced to the finals of the tournament when it was suddenly disqualified. The Springfield Soccer Association tells the station that a misprint in the team’s roster identified Hernandez as a boy in “violation of state and tournament rules” and her appearance wasn’t an issue. The girl wears her hair cut short.
“Just because I look like a boy doesn’t mean I am a boy,” Mili Hernandez told the local TV station. “They don’t have a reason to kick the whole club out.”
The family said it provided Mili Hernandez’s insurance card to tournament organizers that proved she’s a girl. However, it wasn’t enough to allow Hernandez or her team to play.
The Nebraska State Soccer Association has apologized to Hernandez.
It said in a statement Monday that the Springfield soccer club’s decision to disqualify Hernandez’s team does not represent the association’s core values of teamwork and inclusion.
The state soccer association said it did not oversee the Springfield tournament but will work directly with clubs and tournament officials to ensure nothing like this happens again.
Wambach says on social media that she’s “won championships” with her own short haircut and wants to meet the girl.
Hamm has invited Hernandez to one of her soccer camps.
Hey Mili, we would love to host you at one of our camps @TeamFirstSA . Be you!