Just after 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, the ticker-tape parade to celebrate the World Cup champion U.S. women’s national team began along Broadway in New York City.
American co-captain Megan Rapinoe rode on the main float with New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, who waved an American flag, and several teammates, including Julie Ertz, Ali Krieger and New York native Allie Long, who held the World Cup trophy.
Twelve floats were set to carry players, coaches and other honorees from the Battery to City Hall.
Players and fans were showing their enthusiasm well before the scheduled 9:30 start time.
“NYC it’s parade time let’s do this!,” U.S. midfielder Kelley O’Hara tweeted. “Bonus points to anyone who brings me a beer or 4.”
Rapinoe arrived at Wednesday’s festivities with her own beverage in hand.
“I am sooo excited, because it’s beautiful out and I’m with my teammates, and we’re going to have so much fun,” U.S. forward Mallory Pugh said in a video posted on Twitter shortly after 8 a.m.
The weather is indeed beautiful, with temperatures expected to be between 78 and 84 degrees. CBS and ABC will stream the parade online and via their mobile apps, and EarthCam will offer a free, live webcast of the festivities. It will also air on Fox Sports 2 and ESPNU.
Before Wednesday’s parade, New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) addressed reporters at the Battery.
“I think they are a model of possibility for women across the world with what they’ve accomplished,” Cuomo said of the U.S. team. “ . . . These 23 champions are banging on the glass ceiling that is still in existence in the United States of America. They’re going to keep banging until they break it.”
Cuomo concluded his prepared remarks by signing an equal pay law.
“There is no rationale that the women should not get paid what the men get paid,” Cuomo said to cheers. “FIFA and the U.S. Soccer conference have done this team a disservice and an injustice. . . . We say to the U.S. Soccer league and we say to FIFA, if you don’t pay women what you pay men, then you have no business in the state of New York.”
New York City didn’t waste time in stepping up to honor the champions.
“To our 2019 World Cup Champion USWNT,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted after the United States’ 2-0 win over the Netherlands in Sunday’s final. “You have inspired the entire country — and New York City knows how to celebrate champions. We’ll see you Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. for the Ticker Tape Parade down the Canyon of Heroes. #OneNationOneTeam.”
The mayor’s office announced Sunday that a limited number of tickets would be available to the general public to attend a ceremony at City Hall at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday following the parade. Registration opened at 2 p.m. Monday and closed within seconds. The mayor’s office later noted that the parade is free and open to the public.
The victory lap for the U.S. women will span both coasts on Wednesday. After the parade, players will fly to Los Angeles to attend the 27th edition of The ESPYs on Wednesday night. The awards show, which will be hosted by comedian Tracy Morgan, honors the past year’s top athletes and achievements. U.S. forward Alex Morgan, who tied for the World Cup lead with six goals in France, is among the nominees for Best Female Athlete. Morgan and her teammates appeared on “Good Morning America” on Tuesday.
New York has experience celebrating the national team. In 2015, de Blasio’s administration announced a parade along the stretch of Broadway known as the Canyon of Heroes, from the Battery to City Hall. It was held five days after the Americans defeated Japan, 5-2, to win their third World Cup title and three days after the USWNT celebrated with thousands of fans at a rally at L.A. Live near the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
The parade, which attracted tens of thousands of revelers and cost the city an estimated $1.5 million, was New York’s first to honor a women’s team. It also marked the first time New York celebrated a group of national athletes with a ticker-tape parade since 1984, when the medal winners at the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles were feted. According to the mayor’s office, New York City has hosted 206 parades along the Canyon of Heroes since the first one to celebrate the dedication of the Statue of Liberty in 1886.
Megan Rapinoe, who claimed the Golden Ball as the top player of this year’s tournament, rode on the lead float and showed off the World Cup trophy during the 2015 parade. She was joined by Carli Lloyd, who scored three goals in that year’s final, Coach Jill Ellis and the mayor. More than 12,000 people entered a lottery for 2,000 spots to view the post-parade ceremony at City Hall Park, where de Blasio presented every player a key to the city. Robin Roberts served as the emcee for the celebration.
“Young women who watched that game will grow up and they’ll tell their daughters and tell their sons about that 2015 championship team that made history — that opened minds and brought us together,” de Blasio said during the ceremony.
When the United States won its second Women’s World Cup with a penalty-kick shootout victory over China at the Rose Bowl in 1999, the team waved and danced atop red, white and blue floats driven along Main Street U.S.A. at Disneyland the following day.
“As fans roared from behind ropes, each player shook hands with Mickey Mouse,” The Washington Post reported. “Forward Mia Hamm almost knocked him over with an affectionate hug and kiss.”
Wednesday’s parade figures to be the largest celebration of the team yet.
“New York is incredibly proud to join the rest of the country in celebrating this exhilarating World Cup Victory,” New York first lady Chirlane McCray said in a statement. “We applaud the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team’s athletic prowess, their advocacy in fighting for equal pay, and their use of their international platform to speak out against injustice.”
Read more from The Post: