Mili Hernandez, 8, was gearing up for the finals of the Springfield Soccer Club tournament in Nebraska when she found out her whole team was disqualified because she "looked like a boy."
"Just because I look like a boy doesn't mean I am a boy," Mili, who wears her hair short, told WOWT. "They don't have a reason to kick the whole club out."
Mili plays with the 11-year-old team, despite only being 8. She hopes to play soccer throughout high school and college, eventually making it to the professional leagues.
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Her team made it to the finals and was just about to take the field, when organizers stopped the match, insisting that Mili was actually a boy.
Her father, Gerardo Hernandez, said that his daughter "was in shock" at the news.
"She was crying after they told us... They made her cry," he said.
Despite showing organizers her insurance card proving that she is a girl, they refused to change their minds and Milli's brother, Cruz Hernandez, says that officials didn't even look at the card.
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"They didn't want to listen. They said the president made his decision and there wasn't any changing that," he said.
According to The Washington Post, just before the tournament, officials received a call that somebody on Mili's all-girls team, the Azzurri Achurros, wasn't actually a girl. Mili was also accidentally listed as a boy on one of the registration forms.
But, despite efforts by both Mili's father and the president of the Azzurri Soccer club, Mili and her team couldn't take the field.
“I was mad; I never had that problem before. She’s been playing so long in different tournaments,” said Gerardo. “I don’t want no problems with nobody, but that wasn’t the right way to treat people. Why they want to tell my girl looks like a boy?”
Although Mili was devastated that she couldn't play, that hasn't stopped her from doing what she loves most. Only a few days later, Gerardo said that his daughter was already practicing and talking about her favorite team, Guadalajara’s Chivas.
Upon hearing the news, a number of women's soccer players expressed their support. Mia Hamm, two-time Olympic gold medalist, invited Mili to a Team First Soccer Academy camp. Two-time gold medalist Abby Wambach, who also has short hair, sent the 8-year-old a message over Twitter.
“Mili,” she tweeted, “don’t EVER let anyone tell you that you aren’t perfect just as you are. i won championships with short hair."
A tournament official has yet to make an official comment on the situation.