An eight-year-old girl's soccer team was reportedly disqualified from a tournament on Sunday because organizers told her she "looks like a boy."
Per ESPN.com, Mili Hernandez plays for Omaha Azzuri Cachorros' under-11 team, who were due to compete in the Springfield Soccer Club competition in Nebraska before being told four hours prior to kickoff they would not be allowed to compete, despite her parents showing identification proving she is a girl.
Former USWNT stars Abby Wambach and Mia Hamm offered their support to Hernandez, as did tennis legend Billie Jean King:
Abby Wambach @AbbyWambach
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/WlfL3EIPic2017-6-5 22:36:44
Billie Jean King @BillieJeanKing
@MiaHamm @DiCiccoMethod @NEBStateSoccer @WOWT6News @TeamFirstSA @WomensSportsFdn Mili, continue to be yourself, dream big and go for it. Take Mia up on her offer.2017-6-6 01:58:57
Hernandez told Omaha TV station WOWT 6 (h/t ESPN.com): "Just because I look like a boy doesn't mean I am a boy. They don't have a reason to kick the whole club out."
Her father, Gerardo Hernandez, said she "was in shock. She was crying after they told us. ... They made her cry."
Further, Hernandez said the tournament organizers "didn't even want to take" his daughter's medical insurance card, which was offered as proof she is a girl.
He also spoke to the Washington Post, adding: "I was mad. I never had that problem before. She's been playing so long in different tournaments. I don't want problems with nobody, but that wasn't the right way to treat people."
Many more women's soccer stars past and present lent their support, including Lydia Williams, Rachel Daly, Haley Carter and Janine Van Wyk:
Rachel Daly @RachelDaly3
@lydsaussie @moeebrian @SInow @AbbyWambach And me... #suitelifeofzacandcody 😂 I'm with Mili 👦🏼👱🏼♀️ https://t.co/tEEdEC1H5O2017-6-6 00:15:00
Janine Van Wyk @Janinevanwyk5
@HalesBells99 @RachelDaly3 @lydsaussie @moeebrian @SInow @AbbyWambach Guess I should've been disqualified too.. Keep going Mili #Shorthairdontcare https://t.co/Ykx92PXcar2017-6-6 05:20:52
Wambach also sent Hernandez a message on Instagram:
According to WOWT (h/t ESPN), Hernandez and her family were told by tournament officials they can challenge the disqualification by appealing to the Nebraska State Soccer Association.
Sports Illustrated legal analyst Michael McCann gave his take on the incident:
Michael McCann @McCannSportsLaw
Despite seeing Mili Hernandez's health insurance card that proved her gender, tournament officials disagreed. Good luck with that in court. https://t.co/tErE3sVVWX2017-6-5 22:45:12
Per Wowt's Brandon Scott, the Springfield Soccer Association said the disqualification was not because of Hernandez's short hair, but rather because she is mistakenly listed as a boy on the team roster and having a boy play for a girl's side "is a violation of state and tournament rules."
According to the team's coach, Mo Farivari, the error on the roster was a typo made by a registrar.