Members of a Nebraska girls' soccer team have chopped their hair short in support of a teammate, Mili Hernandez, who said her team was disqualified from a youth tournament because she looks like a boy.
The 8-year-old's story went viral over the weekend when her family said tournament organizers focused on the girl's appearance and short haircut for the disqualification.
"I cut my hair because it's not fair what they're doing to Mili," one Azzuri Cachorros Chicas teammate, Rosy, told local NBC affiliate, WOWT-TV. "Just because she has short hair doesn't mean she's a boy, and I did it because I wanted to support her."
Although a clerical error made by the team listed Mili as a boy on a form, the Hernandez family told WOWT that tournament organizers refused to accept an insurance card and medical form as proof of Mili's gender.
"Just because I look like a boy doesn't mean I am a boy," Mili said to the television station. "They don't have a reason to kick the whole club out."
The tournament's organizer, Lanyard Burgett, told ESPN.com that the disqualification had nothing to do with her appearance, and instead was due to rules infractions about putting some club members on multiple teams.
But the Nebraska State Soccer Association has apologized and said in a statement Monday that the incident does not represent its core values of teamwork and inclusion.
Mili has also gotten support from former U.S. soccer stars Abby Wambach and Mia Hamm on social media, with Hamm inviting the 8-year-old to one of her soccer camps.
"You don't look like a boy. You look like a girl with short hair - and that's okay," Wambach said in an Instagram video. "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 want to look like to do it."