Mili Hernandez is a third-grade soccer player in Omaha, Neb. Last weekend she and her team were disqualified from the finals of an all-girls soccer tournament because some people associated with the tournament believed she is a boy.
The reasoning and rationalization seem to be blurred a bit. Some reports say that it is because she “looks like a boy” with short hair. Others say it is because her team’s roster for some inexplicable reason listed her as a boy on the roster. Other reports say it’s a combination of the two.
When her parents showed tournament organizers her identification listing her as female, the organizers didn’t care and maintained the disqualification.
It may be in part because Hernandez is so good. At only 8 years old, she plays in the 11-year-old division. Of course, if a girl stands out that much, she must be a boy (that’s sarcasm there).
The tournament organizers released this statement as to the mistaken identity on the printed roster:
“Tournament officials are committed to the kids that play and if a team has rostering issues the tournament officials are willing to address the issues prior to the start of the tournament to avoid future confusion.”
Professional women’s soccer players and members of the U.S. Women’s National Team weren’t having any of it. They took to Twitter to offer the young girl support:
Mili, don't EVER let anyone tell you that you aren't perfect just as you are.i won championships with short hair https://t.co/WlfL3EIPic— Abby Wambach (@AbbyWambach) June 5, 2017
I get mistaken 4 a boy. Should u DQ me?— Joanna Lohman (@JoannaLohman) June 6, 2017
8 year-old girl disqualified from soccer game because she 'looks like a boy' https://t.co/G8rs946wJu
No matter whom you listen to, it seems some of the people who identified the mistake on the team roster admit that they don’t actually think she’s a boy (though apparently some parents and other organizers do). It makes matters no better, as it means tournament organizers disqualified an entire team for a clerical error they knew was a simple mistake.
Hopefully this gets resolved immediately and young Mili is able to compete again.