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(REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado)

'They're too good'

Short-haired girls on under-11 soccer team repeatedly asked to prove their gender

By WITW Staff on August 9, 2017

Three young girls playing on an under-11 soccer team in Madison, Wisconsin, have had their gender questioned by opposing parents, coaches, and even referees — all because they dare to play with short hair.

For 10-year-old Mira Wild, the decision to cut her hair short was made at 8 because she wanted to look like Ellen DeGeneres. Stella Blau, now 11, says she cut her hair to look legendary U.S. women’s national team players Abby Wambach and Megan Rapinoe. Adah Lacocque, now 10, has worn her hair short since she was 4 — a decision made in part because of her hair’s propensity for getting into yogurt. Reasons aside for their respective choices to wear their hair short, many appear to have somehow taken it as a personal insult to their concept of what a girl should be. At a recent tournament at which the girls’ team won medals, a referee went so far as to tell them that they didn’t deserve the medals because there had been boys on their team.

In one incident, recalled Stella’s father, Tom Blau, an opposing parent approached his daughter and demanded her name.

“My daughter responded with ‘Stella’ and the parent didn’t believe her,” he told Maddie Koss of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “My daughter came back to my wife and just cried.”

“They say, ‘They’re too good. They move like boys,’” added Julie Minikel-Lacocque, Adah’s mother. “All these players have experienced the same discrimination, and I really would call it that. From teams demanding passports and accusations of cheating. It’s incredibly damaging to the girls.”

Despite the criticism, the girls are reportedly keeping her hair short in preparation for the upcoming soccer season in September. And the parents of the girls have also reached out in support to young soccer star Milagros “Mili” Hernandez, an 8-year-old girl with short hair whose under-11 team was disqualified from a tournament for having a ‘boy’ on the team — despite the fact that her father proved her gender to officials by showing them her health insurance card.

Read the full story at The Washington Post and the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.


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