Abby Wambach, Mia Hamm reach out to girl kicked out of tourney for gender flap
A Nebraska soccer tournament banned 'Mili' Hernandez over confusion about her gender
Milagros "Mili" Hernandez, 8, is an extremely talented soccer player. So talented, in fact, that she's playing outside of her age group with 11-year-olds. Hernandez has aspirations of becoming a professional soccer player, as the Washington Post reports.
But a case of mistaken gender caused Mili's team, the Azurri Achurros, to have to forfeit playing in a championship match at a tournament in Nebraska on Sunday. The opposing team had complained that a boy -- the short-haired Mili -- was playing for the Achurros. Exacerbating the confusion was the fact that Mili was listed as a boy on the registration form.
Mili's father, Gerardo Hernandez, tried to rectify the error by bringing her insurance card to tournament officials, but was told that the matter was decided, per the Post.
The Omaha World Herald's Mike O'Connor told the "Dan Patrick Show" that tournament organizers didn't believe that Hernandez was actually a boy, but since she was listed on the roster as a male, the factual error resulted in an automatic disqualification.
It's unlikely that the incident will impact Mili's choices. Although she was wildly upset about the situation, feeling that she let her team down, her feelings on the matter of hair were quite clear.
"When my hair starts to grow, I put it short because I've always had short hair," Mili told Nebraska's NBC station WOWT. "I didn't like my hair long."
Despite her initial frustration, Mili's story reached the ears of a few soccer stars and heroes of hers. Mia Hamm invited Mili to the Team First Soccer Academy Camp, and Abby Wambach tweeted her support in addition to posting an Instagram video offering words of encouragement.
All in all, it's safe to say that Mili is going to come out of this just fine, but perhaps she'll have a bit of wisdom that Gerardo Hernandez would have liked to have been able to teach her later on his terms. Explaining that the world is unfair is something no parent wants to put their child through, but the warm reaction to Mili shows that there's an inverse side to unfairness as well.
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