Mili Hernandez, 8, simply doesn’t like having long hair, so she wears it short to keep it out of her face as she plays soccer. It’s a stance World Cup winners Abby Wambach and Mia Hamm support entirely.
That’s why when Mili and her team were disqualified from a soccer tournament because officials were convinced she was a boy, the two former U.S. Women’s National Team stars stepped up.
Mili, who lives in Nebraska, is so talented that she plays on a team comprised of 11 years old girls. However, prior to Mili’s appearance in the finals, tournament organizers ended the team’s run.
“Just because I look like a boy doesn’t mean I am a boy,” Mili told WOWT. “They don’t have a reason to kick the whole club out.”
Mili’s family even showed officials her insurance card to prove she is in fact a girl.
Upon hearing the story, Wambach posted a message for Mili, and then attempted to reach out to the president of the soccer tournament.
Actually can someone find me the numbers of this club? I am calling their president. Unreal. https://t.co/2klR3IeLWR
— Abby Wambach (@AbbyWambach) June 5, 2017
“…I’ve heard the news and all I can say is that your courage to want to stand up and talk about it, and your bravery, is going to help that next kid that’s put in the similar situation. You’re inspiring, you’re a natural born leader, honey, and I’m so proud of you…
“You don’t look like a boy. You look like a girl, with short hair, and that’s okay.
“Also, I know somebody else who has short hair. She’s won gold medals and a World Cup, and U.S Soccer Player of the Year and FIFA Player of the Year.
“You can do anything you want to do and you can be anything you want to be, and guess what? You can look like whatever you need to look like to do it.” – Abby Wambach (Instagram)
Mia Hamm then personally invited Mili to her soccer camp.
Hey Mili, we would love to host you at one of our camps @TeamFirstSA . Be you!
— Mia Hamm (@MiaHamm) June 5, 2017
Mili says she won’t let this keep her down for long.
“There’s other tournaments that I can play.”