Last weekend, Mili Hernandez and her team were disqualified from playing at the Springfield Soccer Club girls' tournament in Nebraska. The 8-year-old soccer player had led her team to the finals on Saturday. However, Mili and the Omaha's Azzuri Cachorros were not allowed to play on Sunday. The girl's family believed it was because they thought Mili was a boy because of her short hair.

Mili loves soccer and she is good at it. She was extremely disappointed that she could not play in the tournament based on her looks. The young soccer player said she doesn't like wearing longer hair.

Therefore, she keeps it short. Mili made a good point by saying it didn't make sense to disqualify the entire team even if they thought she was a boy.

Statement from Soccer Association

The Springfield Soccer Association claimed that the team was disqualified because of a misprint on the team’s roster that identified Mili as a boy which is a violation for a boy to play on a girl's team. Officials argued that it had nothing to do with the way she looked.

Even though Hernandez’s coach tried to correct the typographical error that was made by a registrar, the organizers did not change their decision. The coach, Mario Torres, reasoned with the officials that his team had paid to play and has already played three games in the tournament.

Like Mili, he said they didn't have to penalize everybody and not let the team play because of the discrepancy with one player.

Hernandez's family said the registrar was presented with Mili's insurance card which showed her gender as female. Also, the doctor's physical form gave a description of her age and gender which should have eliminated any doubt.

Because the tournament organizers wouldn't change their mind, the Azzuri Cachorros team has filed a complaint with the Nebraska State Soccer Association which admits typos do happen sometimes on rosters. The association was quick to say that it is not in charge of the tournament and cannot change the tournament's decision.

Online support

Hernandez’s disqualification met with criticisms online. Two of soccer's biggest players reached out to the little soccer player. Former U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team stars Abby Wambach and Mia Hamm sent her video messages. Wambach thanked Mili for her bravery and said she wanted to meet her soon. Hamm extended an invitation for Mili to visit one of her soccer camps.

The child's father, Gerardo Hernandez, said even though it was an inappropriate decision, his little girl loves soccer and will continue to play.