You Go, Girls! Women's Soccer Champs Parade Through NYC

Photographed by: KAELYN FORDE.
Update, 12:30 p.m.:
Crowds climbed subway fences, pressed their noses against office windows, and painted their faces red, white, and blue to scream, "U-S-A! U-S-A!" as the U.S. women's national team proceeded up the Canyon of Heroes in lower Manhattan, showered both in ticker tape and the love of their fans.

New Yorkers were not the only ones to revel in the spectacle — we spoke to people from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Virginia who had come to NYC to celebrate Team USA.

"It's pretty cool for the women. It doesn't get more exciting than that many goals," said Joanne Mills, who watched with her three daughters Lucy, Sophie, and Annie, and her father Tom.

"When Joanne started [playing soccer], it was a struggle," Tom told us. "We had to fight to get a program in the high school. There was a boys team, but not a girls team. We've been pushing for a long time."

Nearby, Maggie, 12, and her grandmother stood in front of a sign that read, "Equal Pay For Equal Play." Maggie told us she wanted to be a professional soccer player some day, and had traveled all the way to Canada to watch the German national team play France.

"I don't think it's very fair," Maggie said. Pro women's salaries pale in comparison to men's — the NWSL places a $200,000 annual salary cap on each team, while the MLS caps its salaries at $3.1 million.

"This is rapid, the way we really hoped it would be," Maggie's grandmother told us. "I'm really glad that I'm here with my granddaughter, because she's going to get the benefit of everything that's happening."
10:30 a.m.: For the first time in history, a women's athletic team is getting one of New York City's signature ticker tape parades. Beginning at 11 a.m. on Friday, the victorious U.S. Women's World Cup team will march along Manhattan's "Canyon of Heroes" while adoring fans wave flags, shower them in confetti, and celebrate their third World Cup victory.

"I'm excited just to see [the players] up close. The excitement. All the rep. Everyone’s just like, 'It's just the women's team.' But now it’s the Women's team and we won," said a high school soccer player from Randolph, N.J. who showed up early for the parade. "Look at all the people who are here already, and it’s still two hours before the show."

In New York City, ticker tape parades — which are named for the small papers on which brokerage firms used to print stock market quotes — have honored the Statue of Liberty's dedication, Charles Lindbergh's return from his first solo transatlantic flight, General Eisenhower following the Second World War, men landing on the moon, the Yankees winning the World Series, and the Giants taking the Super Bowl, among other monumental events. Overall, the City has hosted some 205 ticker tape parades.

But this is the first time that a women's team will get the ticker-tape treatment. From time to time, ticker tape has fallen on women's shoulders — from Amelia Earhart to Queen Elizabeth II, to female armed forces members in the 1950s and Althea Gibson, the Wimbledon women's singles champion in 1957. But the last two times that the U.S. Women won the World Cup (in 1999 and 2003), no parade was held.

"Men just flap on the ground. Women are really strong!" said 13-year-old Sophie, another soccer player from New Jersey who expressed her excitement for the historic event.

Last Sunday, the U.S. women's team, led by superstar midfielder Carli Lloyd and record-shatterer Abby Wambach, beat Japan 5-2 to win the finals of the seventh FIFA Women's World Cup. Lloyd scored a hat trick — including one snipe from midfield — and Wambach wowed crowds when, after the final buzzer, she ran into the stands to embrace her wife. Though Wambach is the highest scoring national women's team player, she had not won a World Cup until Sunday.

Meanwhile, National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) games are underway for the summer. This Sunday, Carli Lloyd returns to her other home team — the Houston Dash — for a game that will find her facing off against four of her USA teammates on the Chicago Red Stars. Midfielder Morgan Brian and defender Meghan Klingenberg also play for the Dash. Abby Wambach, who may retire this year, is the only member of Team USA who is not committed to an NWSL team.

"There is probably no better way to go out, right?" Wambach said after Sunday's victory. "But…I'm just going to really enjoy this for now."

We'll be right there with these amazing women reporting from Manhattan!

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