Thursday 21 September 2017

US women's stars back eight-year-old girl after her team were disqualified because she looked like a boy

Eight-year-old Achurros football player Milagros
Eight-year-old Achurros football player Milagros "Mili" Hernandez. Photo courtesy of Omaha NBC affiliate WWOT

Jack O'Toole

Eight-year-old Milagros "Mili" Hernandez and her Achurros football team were disqualified from a football tournament in the United States last weekend on the basis that officials accused her of looking like a boy.

Mili's club team - the Achurros - were disqualified from a tournament in Omaha, Nebraska, after a member of a rival team complained to tournament officials that she looked like a boy.

Mili's father Gerardo Hernandez, had brought his daughter's insurance card and other documentation to Sunday's tournament, but officials said that they were not interested in speaking to him after they had checked forms and contacted Mili's Azzurri Soccer club to say she had been listed as a boy.

The Achurros were subsequently disqualified from the tournament before they could take to the pitch with organisers declaring to Gerardo that their decision had been decided upon.

When asked about her side's disqualification, Mili told local television station WOWT-TV: "Just because I look like a boy doesn't mean I am a boy. They don't have a reason to kick the whole club out."

The incident prompted FIFA World Player of the Year award winners Mia Hamm and Abby Wambach to offer their support, with Hamm offering to host Mili at one of her Team First Soccer Academy Camps.

Hamm tweeted: "Hey Mili, we would love to host you at one of our camps TeamFirstSA . Be you!"

Wambach also chimed in with her support and told Mili: "don't EVER let anyone tell you that you aren't perfect just as you are.i won championships with short hair."

The six-time U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year then followed up that tweet with another sating: "Actually can someone find me the numbers of this club? I am calling their president. Unreal."

The Achurros team have filed a complaint with the Nebraska State Soccer Association alleging that tournament organisers displayed both gender and racial discrimination.

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