This 8-Year-Old Girl Was Banned From A Soccer Game Because The Club Thought She Was A Boy

"Just because I look like a boy doesn't mean I am a boy."

This is Mili Hernandez, an 8-year-old girl in Omaha, Nebraska.

WOWT 6 News / Via

Mili has been playing soccer since she was five, and is so talented she now plays on the 11-year-olds' team, her 15-year-old brother, Cruz Hernandez, told BuzzFeed News.

After winning two out of three games on Saturday, Mili was looking forward to competing in the finals the next day.

Instead, Mili's family was told she was banned from the game — and her whole team would be disqualified — because organizers thought she was a boy.

"She tried to keep her composure, but you could see it in her face that she felt really bad about the whole thing," said Cruz.

Her father, Gerardo Hernandez, told WOWT 6 News "they made her cry."

This happened due to Mili's short hair, which she's had her entire life, said Cruz.


"When my hair starts to grow I put it short because I've always had short hair. I didn't like my hair long," Mili told WOWT 6 News.

The soccer club did not immediately respond to BuzzFeed News, but told WOWT 6 News on Monday that Mili's disqualification was due to a registrar's typo that listed her as a male.

"Listing a male player on a girls team roster is a violation of state and tournament rules," said the soccer club.

However, Mili's family is skeptical, considering another official form, which came from a tournament organizer, said she was a girl — unsurprising, considering she plays on an all-girls team.

Gerardo even showed them Mili's insurance card, which lists her sex. It didn't help.

"We tried to convince the organizers that she was a girl and what they were doing was wrong, but they didn’t listen," said Cruz. "They didn’t even want to meet Mili."

"They just said that the president who runs the whole tournament said she was a boy and that was final, there was nothing else that could be done about it," he said.

Now soccer stars are coming to Mili's defense. On Monday, Mia Hamm invited her to her soccer camp.

@DiCiccoMethod @NEBStateSoccer @WOWT6News Hey Mili, we would love to host you at one of our camps @TeamFirstSA . Be you!

Abby Wambach also tweeted in support of the 8-year-old. "I won championships with short hair," she said.

Mili, don't EVER let anyone tell you that you aren't perfect just as you are.i won championships with short hair

Wambach followed up with a heartfelt video, in which she praised Mili for her bravery. “You’re a natural-born leader, honey, and I’m so proud of you," she said.

Cruz said his sister dreams of becoming a professional soccer player, and this experience has not changed that.


"She did a drawing, and it describes what she wants to do with her future," he said. "She said she wants to go to college and become a professional soccer player."

And now that she's had some time to process, she "understands that it wasn’t her fault," he said.

"Just because I look like a boy doesn't mean I am a boy," Mili told WOWT 6 News. "They don't have a reason to kick the whole club out."



A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.