8-year-old girl disqualified from Nebraska soccer tournament after officials thought she was a boy

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Tuesday, June 6, 2017
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8-year-old girl disqualified from Nebraska soccer tournament because she looks like a boy. Alicia Vitarelli reports during Action News at 4:30 p.m. on June 5, 2017.

OMAHA, Neb. (WPVI) -- A family from Nebraska is outraged over how their 8-year-old daughter was treated at a soccer tournament.

Tournament officials apparently disqualified Mili Hernandez and her entire team from the finals because organizers thought she was a boy.

Her parents said they proved her gender, but it wasn't enough.

Mili is an exuberant girl who loves soccer and her short haircut.

"When my hair starts to grow, I put it short because I always had short hair," she said. "So I didn't like my hair long."

She plays soccer for Omaha's Azzuri Cachorros girls club team, and she's so good that even though she's 8, she's on the 11-year-old roster. Her dad couldn't be more proud.

"It's what she likes," Gerardo Hernandez said." It's what she always wants to do, play soccer."

This weekend, Mili helped lead her team to the finals of the Springfield Soccer Club girls tournament. But on Sunday, before taking the field, she and her team were suddenly disqualified because Springfield soccer organizers believed her to be a boy.

"She was in shock," Gerardo Hernandez said. "She even was crying after they told us...She was crying. They made her cry."

It was a decision Mili simply couldn't understand.

"Just because I look like a boy doesn't mean I am a boy," she said. "But they don't have a reason to kick the whole club out."

Her family claims they showed Mili's insurance card to tournament organizers to prove she's a girl, but it wasn't enough.

"They didn't want to listen," brother Cruz Hernandez said. "They said the president had made his decision and there wasn't any changing that."

Still, Mili won't let this stop her from playing.

"Just because I can't play here, there's other tournaments that I can play," she said.

Springfield Soccer Club organizers did not comment, but they did say the family can appeal the ruling to the Nebraska State Soccer Association.