Mili Hernandez is a teenage girl that’s been in love with soccer for as long as she can remember. She began playing at the age of 5, and her skills and love for the game became evident as soon as she stepped foot on the field. When she was 8, she was transferred to a team full of 11-year-olds. Even in a team of players more than 3 years older than her, she proved to be the star of her team, the Azzuri Cachorros Chicas. The girl made headlines a few years ago, but not for the reasons we would all hope for.
Namely Insider reported a few years ago that at a time when Hernandez’s all-girls team was about to play the final of a local championship back in June 2017, their head coach received the news that their team had been disqualified from the tournament. As it turns out, someone had complained that Hernandez was a boy (due to her signature short hair), and the complaint was further amplified by a simple typo on the registration form that lister has a boy. Her dad, Gerardo, took Mili and her insurance card and headed to the site of the tournament.
However, when he showed up there, he was told by tournament officials that their team had been disqualified and they wouldn’t even look at the insurance card.
He said that they told him the whole thing was decided, which left Mili in tears and her family in disbelief. Thankfully, the family received an outpouring of support in an unimaginable manner!
Young girl once barred from a soccer tournament for looking like a boy is now a top player in her state. https://t.co/8lR25TkVVa
— Sports Insider (@SportsInsider) May 30, 2021
Mili’s story was picked up by ESPN, and all of her teammates decided to cut their hair in solidarity after practice. Numerous sports celebrities reached out to the young girl, including US Women’s National Team player Mia Hamm, tennis champion Billie Jean King, and USWNT all-time leading scorer Abby Wambach.
It was all very encouraging for Mili, and her father actually cried that people from that level reached out to his kid to support her.
Mili is now a part of FC Roja, an all-girls non-profit soccer club, and she still proudly wears her hair short – and she still loves the game so much to ‘play all day’!
8-yr-old Mili Hernandez was kicked out of a soccer tournament bc she was mistaken for a boy.
— Splinter (@splinter_news) June 7, 2017