Who knew that hair could be such an issue?
For Milagros “Mili” Hernandez, an eight-year-old soccer player from Omaha, NE, it meant getting her entire soccer team disqualified from the finals tournament.
Mili, whose soccer skills proved worthy enough to land her a spot on the 11-year-old-team, called the Azzuri Achurros, likes to wear her hair in a short, pixie-like cut (which is super stylish right now, BTW). However, her cropped locks didn’t get the approval of the Springfield Soccer Club. They disqualified the entire all-girls team after insisting that Mili was a boy.
Officials spoke with Mili and her older sister, Alina, who said that when Mili was first accused of not being a girl, they showed them her insurance card and other documents that proved she was a female, which still didn’t cut it. The director of the Azurri Soccer club, Mo Farivari, told Mili’s father, Gerardo Hernandez, that there was a mix-up with Mili’s registration form that listed her as a boy, but that the problem should have been easily resolved considering her other legal documents stated she was, in fact, a girl.
Mili’s father said she’s been rocking the short do since she was younger. He told the Washington Post that for someone who spends their day running around, cutting her hair short was the easiest option.
Mili’s reaction to the situation was that of a pro, keeping it together and saying it like it is. “Just because I look like a boy doesn’t mean I am a boy,” said Mili. “They don’t have a reason to kick the whole club out.”
After the news spread, there were reactions on social media that were in favor of Mili, including a tweet from Mia Hamm, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and co-owner of the Los Angeles Football Club who wanted to recruit Mili to a Team First Soccer Academy Camp. There was also a video message on Instagram and a Tweet from Abby Wombach, also a two-time Olympic gold medalist (who rocks a similar hairstyle to Mili’s), who spread her love and words of encouragement to thank Mili for her bravery and courage.
Dear Mili Hernandez, you are amazing in every way. Thank you for teaching us how to be brave and shining a light on something so hurtful. If you don't know, she is my new hero. Her team was disqualified from a tourney cause they thought she was a boy because of a clerical error that wasn't handled properly. Let's meet soon sister.
Shine on, Mili. Keep rocking that pixie cut.