US soccer greats cheer Nebraska girl barred after mistaken as boy
Pixie haircuts may be the new rage on the girl’s soccer field now that superstar Mia Hamm cheered an 8-year-girl whose Nebraska team was booted from a tournament after officials insisted she was a boy.
U.S. soccer legend Hamm and Olympic soccer gold medalist Abby Wambach launched a Twitter defense of Mili Hernandez, the Omaha, Nebraska girl whose team, Assurri Cachorros Chicos, was disqualified from a Springfield Soccer Club tournament over the weekend.
After a typo on the team roster misidentified the short-haired Hernandez as male, her family told NBC affiliate WOWT News that tournament officials ignored insurance documents produced to prove she is female and instead kicked out the entire team.
“Mili, don’t EVER let anyone tell you that you aren’t perfect just as you are. i won championships with short hair,” Wambach tweeted late on Monday.
Hamm also took to Twitter to invite Hernandez to her TeamFirst Soccer Academy.
“Be you!” Hamm added to the tweet late on Monday.
The club has filed a complaint with the Nebraska State Soccer Association, local media reported.
The Hernandez family could not be reached for comment. Neither Nebraska soccer officials or the Azzuri club immediately responded to requests for comment.
Hernandez told WOWT that she was “not happy” that officials disqualified her team because of her appearance.
“They only did it because I look like a boy,” Hernandez told WOWT News in a televised interview.
TeamFirst spokeswoman Cori Boyle told Reuters on Tuesday the academy would consider running a camp in Nebraska if Hernandez is unable to attend any of the other camps currently scheduled in the U.S. Midwest. TeamFirst camps focus on “being yourself, being proud of who you are, being the best you can be, as a person,” Boyle said.
She added, “A lot of professional athletes have short hair… I have short hair.”
(Reporting by Barbara Goldberg in New York; editing by Diane Craft)