Soccer Stars Rally Around Girl, 8, Booted From Tourney

Family says short hair was the issue; organizers say it was a clerical error
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 6, 2017 11:32 AM CDT
Soccer Stars Rally Around Girl, 8, Booted From Tourney
In this July 5, 2015, file photo, Abby Wambach holds an American flag after the US beat Japan 5-2 in the FIFA Women's World Cup soccer championship in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.   (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

Some of the biggest names in US soccer are rallying around a little girl who was disqualified from her local soccer club's tournament this weekend. Abby Wambach and Mia Hamm have both publicly supported 8-year-old Mili Hernandez after her story went viral, the AP reports. Hernandez plays for the Azzuri-Cachorros Chicas in Omaha, Neb., and her team was disqualified Sunday after playing in the earlier part of the Springfield Soccer Association girls' tournament—because, her family claims to WOWT, organizers thought Hernandez, whose hair is short, was a boy. The family says they went so far as to show Hernandez's insurance card, with her gender listed, to organizers, but they wouldn't budge.

"Mili, don't EVER let anyone tell you that you aren't perfect just as you are.i won championships with short hair," Wambach wrote on Twitter Monday. Hamm weighed in with her own tweet the same day: "Hey Mili, we would love to host you at one of our camps @TeamFirstSA . Be you!" Organizers later told WOWT that Hernandez's hair wasn't the issue; rather, they say, she was accidentally listed as a boy on the team roster. That didn't change Wambach's support for the girl: She posted on Instagram late Monday night that Hernandez 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." (Read more soccer stories.)

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