On June 4, an 8-year-old girl by the name of Milagros “Mili” Hernandez and her Azzurri Cachorros Chicas soccer team were suddenly disqualified before taking the field. The organizers believed Mili was a boy based on a typo on the team roster.
The roster did have Mili’s name on it, and she was listed as a boy. Mio Farivari, Mili’s Soccer Club President admits that the typo was an error by their registrar. However, when Mili’s coach tried to correct it at the game, he was not listened to.
Her family insists that Mili was disqualified because of her looks and believed to be a boy. Mili told WOWT 6 News, “They only did it because I look like a boy.”
“They just weren’t listening. They said I looked like a boy. My brother says it’s only because of my looks. So when they look at me they think I’m a boy but I’m really not,” Mili explained.
And Cruz Hernandez, Mili’s brother, told WOWT 6 News, “We had a doctor’s physical form and it gave a description and it said her age and female, so we showed them that but they wouldn’t look at it.”
“We showed them all different types of IDs. The president of the tournament said that they had made their decision and he wouldn’t change it. Even though we had an insurance card and documentation that showed she is a female,” Mili’s sister, Alina Hernandez, told KMTV.
By June 10, her teammates lined up one-by-one to get their hair cut to show their solidarity with Mili. 10-year old Erika Ortez cut off more than six inches of hair. She told the World-Herald, “Mili is like family to me. She’s part of my team. So I really felt like it was necessary to support her.”
The support hasn’t just come from Mili’s team but from all over the world. In fact, her story has gone viral and has caught the attention of star athletes like Abby Wambach and Anthony DiCicco.
And retired professional soccer player, two-time Olympic gold medalist, and two-time FIFA Women’s World Cup champion, Mia Hamm, has invited Mili and her team to attend one of her soccer camps.
The Nebraska State Soccer Association announced that it is investigating the Ray Heimes Springfield Soccer Invitational and is conducting a detailed review of what happened.
“While Nebraska State Soccer did not oversee the Springfield Tournament, we recognize that our core values were simply not present this past weekend at this tournament and we apologize to this young girl, her family and her soccer club for this unfortunate misunderstanding,” the association said in a lengthy statement on Twitter.
“At no time was a child prohibited from playing because of their looks,” tournament director Lanyard Burgett’s insists.
“No tournament staff ever said a child was not allowed to play because they looked like a boy… The male player on a female roster was discovered in the middle of working through the player swapping issue and has been incorrectly identified as the reason for dismissal.”
The Nebraska State Soccer Association has since apologized to Mili and has threatened to suspend the tournament’s sanctioning unless the incident is investigated.
The older and more mature we become, the better we deal with loss and failure.
Though for young athletes, dealing with the sting of defeat can be quite devastating. How do we help our young athletes cope with losing?
For kids, the pressure to win comes from everywhere – their coaches, peers, society, and even their parents. Coaches remind their athletes that the reason they train so hard is so that they can perform at their optimum level in their upcoming game(s). “Practice makes perfect.” As young athletes begin to learn the value of hard work, they start to take loss much harder as winning becomes more important to them.
As kids begin to develop skills through training and hard work, they start to discover that their efforts play a role in the outcome of the game. And when they or their team loses, they carry the weight of it all, thinking that if they had done better they would have won.
Parents watched their kids work so hard, and they also feel invested on whether they win or lose. And while parents are also experiencing the disappointment of the loss, it’s important that parents do not add to how awful their children already feel.
Here are some ways that you can help your kid deal with losing:
That’s right. Just shut it. On the drive home, do not add fuel to the fire by expressing your frustration. You may be tempted to share your opinion(s), but now is not the time to talk about how you feel about the referee not paying attention or the coach not putting your kid in enough. Now is certainly not the time to talk to your child about their individual performance.
Instead, wait. If your kid wants to engage in conversation about the game, wait for them to initiate it. Eventually, they will open up to you. And whatever you do, do not lecture them, as this will only add to their frustration.
And once they do start to talk about it, validate their feelings. Assure them that it is ok to feel the way they do. Let them know that it is natural to be upset.
Let them vent. Allow this time for them to get their feelings out. What’s important is that they know that you support them no matter what.
Don’t Dwell on It
Losing is new to them. And they need a few moments to handle it in their own way. They will learn the lesson of loss in their own way. Allowing the pain of losing longer than it needs to be can be excruciating and may cause your child to either shutdown or worse, live with the disappointment longer than they have to.
Instead, shift to a new topic or better yet, encourage them to move forward by talking about what they will do at the next game. The important thing for you as a parent is to inspire them, make them realize that there will be plenty more opportunities in the future and that you love them no matter what.
The unfortunate reality of sports is that athletes can and do get hurt.
Injuries, particularly ones to the head, are common occurrences in physical competition. Head injuries include concussions, scalp wounds, and skull fractures. They can either be closed or open.
A head injury can be caused by a blow to the head by either an object, the clashing of heads or bodies, or a person falling to the floor and hitting their head. In sports, this can occur quite often as players rush to gain possession of the ball. Equipment used in hockey or lacrosse sticks may be raised too high and accidentally hit another player in the head. A player who has just jumped get the rebound could unexpectedly fall and hit their head.
Head injuries can happen in countless ways during competition. All head injuries can be potentially serious.
If an athlete has suffered a direct blow or a whipping of the head, they should be asked if they are experiencing a headache, ringing in the ears, dizziness, or grogginess. Ask them if they are experiencing blurred or double vision.
If they appear confused and unsteady, they should be examined immediately. Other severe signs that should alert you to seek medical attention are irregular breathing, bleeding from the wound at the point of blow, unresponsiveness, short-term memory loss, abnormalities in the pupils, and/or vomiting.
An athlete with any of these signs or symptoms should be pulled out of activity right away. Continue to monitor the athlete so that you can alert medical services of any worsening symptoms. Contact the guardian or parent of the athlete immediately and let them know all of the observed signs and symptoms.
If an athlete shows any of the severe signs of trauma, their head and neck should be stabilized. If the athlete is wearing a helmet, leave it on as you don’t want to jar the head and neck unnecessarily. Do not shake the person and do not move them.
If there is any profuse bleeding, get it under control by applying pressure over it.
If the athlete has blacked out and remains unconscious directly after the blow to the head, immediately examine vital signs and check for severe bleeding. Call out their name. Check their airway, breathing, and pulse. Perform CPR if necessary; otherwise, monitor the athlete’s breathing. Emergency medical services should be called immediately if they fail to respond and remain unconscious.
It is imperative to monitor athletes after they have suffered a head injury, even if they walk away from it seemingly unscathed. Remember that many symptoms do not appear until after a few days.