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Famous soccer players are defending an 8-year-old-girl disqualified for her short hair.

Kicked out of a tournament for her short hair, this girl got some major support.

Famous soccer players are defending an 8-year-old-girl disqualified for her short hair.

8-year-old Mili Hernandez loves soccer — and keeping her hair cut short.

You wouldn't think those things would be at odds with one another, but bizarrely, they are.

In June, 2017, Mili and her team advanced to the finals of a local tournament in Nebraska. Before they were able to take the field, however, the team was disqualified.


The reason: Organizers believed Mili was a boy because of her short hair. Seriously. Even worse, no amount of proof could convince organizers otherwise, and the tournament has since ended.

Mili Hernandez explains, "When they look at me, they think I'm a boy but I'm really not." Image via 3 News Now/YouTube.

As Mili's story began circulating, some of the biggest stars in women's soccer stepped in with messages of support.

Abby Wambach, one of the greatest (if not the greatest) players in U.S. soccer history, posted messages of support on Twitter and Instagram calling Mili "inspiring" and a "natural-born leader."

"You can do anything you want to do and you can be anything you want to be," says Wambach in an Instagram video. "And guess what? You can look like whatever you need to look like to do it."

Two-time World Cup champion Mia Hamm invited Mili to come visit her at one of her Team First Soccer Academy camps.

From there, support began pouring in from professional soccer stars around the world.

"Guess I should've been disqualified too," wrote Australia's Lydia Williams, who shared a photo of herself with short hair.

"I'll second that" wrote Orlando's Maddy Evans.

England's Rachel Daly added a photo of herself with short hair to Williams response.

As did former American player, Haley Carter, who added the hashtag: #BecauseShortHairStillDoesntCare.

"Keep going Mili," added South African player Janine Van Wyk.

In response to the backlash, tournament organizers have claimed that their decision was actually the result of a misprint on the team's roster and not the result of Mili's haircut.

Regardless of the reason behind the decision, the end result is the same — Mili and her team were banned from playing in the finals of a tournament that is now over. There is no fix here; there is no time to convince the tournament to still let her team play.

It's really unfortunate situation — this is kids soccer we're talking about! — especially since it resulted in so much sadness over something as small as a haircut or a typo.

On the bright side, it brought out some of the world's greatest athletes in support of one very special 8-year-old girl and her very short hair. That's a lesson Mili — and hopefully the tournament organizers — will never forget.  

Simon & Garfunkel's song "Bridge Over Troubled Water" has been covered by more than 50 different musical artists, from Aretha Franklin to Elvis Presley to Willie Nelson. It's a timeless classic that taps into the universal struggle of feeling down and the comfort of having someone to lift us up. It's beloved for its soothing melody and cathartic lyrics, and after a year of pandemic challenges, it's perhaps more poignant now than ever.

A few years a go, American singer-songwriter Yebba Smith shared a solo a capella version of a part of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," in which she just casually sits and sings it on a bed. It's an impressive rendition on its own, highlighting Yebba's soulful, effortless voice.

But British singer Jacob Collier recently added his own layered harmony tracks to it, taking the performance to a whole other level.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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