Fans cheer World Cup champs as leaders on and off the field

Sports

NEW YORK (AP) — Adoring fans lined New York City’s Canyon of Heroes on Wednesday to praise the World Cup-winning U.S. women’s national soccer team as athletic leaders on the field — and as advocates for pay equity off it.

Construction workers sounded air horns above crowds chanting “USA! USA!” as the hourlong parade moved up a stretch of lower Broadway that has long hosted so-called ticker tape parades for world leaders, veterans and hometown sports stars.

Co-captain Megan Rapinoe and her teammates shared a float with Mayor Bill de Blasio and U.S. Soccer Federation president Carlos Cordeiro. Rapinoe struck her now-famous victory pose, took a swig of Champagne and handed the bottle to a fan. Goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher held the World Cup trophy aloft.

Aly Hoover, 12, of Glen Ridge, New Jersey, stood at the sidelines with a poster of the face of Alex Morgan, another team star. “I just want to be like them,” she said.

Garret Prather brought his newborn son “to celebrate how the American women made us proud on and off the field.”

The team sealed its second tournament win by beating the Netherlands 2-0 on Sunday. It will get $4 million for winning the World Cup from FIFA, the international soccer governing body. The men’s French team got $38 million for winning last year.

The U.S. women’s team has sued the U.S. Soccer Federation for gender and pay discrimination. The women will get bonuses about five times less from the USSF than the men would have earned for winning the World Cup. The case is currently in mediation.

Kate Lane, who watched the parade, called the pay gap “massive” for the soccer players and “across the board” for most women.

“Especially in male-dominated professions,” said Lane, of Limerick, Ireland. “Women put just as much commitment into their work as their male counterparts.”

She’s hopeful the younger generation is soaking up the message from the women’s team, noting a girl about 7 years old wearing an “Equal Pay” T-shirt.

Earlier Wednesday, team members joined New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, as he signed a law expanding gender pay equality in the state. He said women’s soccer players should be paid the same as male players.

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat, introduced a bill Tuesday that would bar federal funding for the men’s 2026 World Cup until the U.S. Soccer Federation provides equal pay to the women’s and men’s teams.

After the parade, de Blasio, also a Democrat, planned to honor the team with symbolic keys to the city.

The parade is named for the strands of ticker tape that used to be showered down from nearby office buildings. The tape has since been replaced with paper confetti, already drifting down from office buildings before Wednesday’s parade started.

The Department of Sanitation said it will have 350 workers assigned to parade cleanup with trucks, backpack blowers and brooms at their disposal.

The team had already started celebrating its record fourth Women’s World Cup title. After touching down at Newark Liberty International Airport on Monday, players shared a toast and sang “We Are the Champions.”

Team members appeared on ABC’s “Good Morning America” in Times Square on Tuesday to show off their trophy and answer questions from cheering kids.

Rapinoe, the outspoken star who won the awards for the tournament’s best player and top scorer, also appeared on CNN and MSNBC later Tuesday.

Rapinoe told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that Republican President Donald Trump’s slogan “Make America Great Again” is “harking back to an era that wasn’t great for everyone. It might’ve been great for a few people.”

Rapinoe told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow that Trump had yet to invite the women’s soccer team to the White House.

Trump had tweeted that he would invite the team, win or lose. Rapinoe has said she wouldn’t be going to the White House. The team has accepted an invitation to visit Congress.


Associated Press writers Melissa Murphy and David Bauder contributed to this report.

It was four years ago to the day that crowds tossed heaps of confetti to celebrate the team and its 2015 Women’s World Cup title.

Now, it’s the women of 2019’s turn. The repeat champs beat the Netherlands 2-0 on Sunday to win the 2019 Women’s World Cup, inspiring another ticker tape parade in lower Manhattan that will bring soccer fans together to rejoice in the historic win.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH A LIVE STREAM OF THE PARADE

The parade began at 9:30 a.m. and moved up the Canyon of Heroes, a section of Broadway in lower Manhattan. The route has long hosted ticker tape parades for world leaders, veterans and hometown sports stars.

Aly Hoover, 12, of Glen Ridge, New Jersey, stood at the sidelines with a poster of the face of Alex Morgan, one of the team’s stars. If she sees Morgan in the parade, she said, “I’m gonna scream my head off and try to get a hug.”

“I just want to be like them,” she added.

Garret Prather brought his newborn son “to celebrate how the American women made us proud on and off the field.”

The parade is named for the long strands of ticker tape that used to be showered down from nearby office buildings. The tape has since been replaced with paper confetti, already drifting down from office buildings before Wednesday’s parade started.

After the parade, Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio planned to honor the team with symbolic keys to the city.

The Department of Sanitation said it will have 350 workers assigned to parade cleanup with trucks, backpack blowers and brooms at their disposal.

The team had already started celebrating its record fourth Women’s World Cup title. After touching down at Newark Liberty International Airport on Monday, players shared a toast and sang “We Are the Champions.”

They appeared on ABC’s “Good Morning America” in Times Square on Tuesday to show off their trophy and answer questions from cheering kids.

Megan Rapinoe, the outspoken star who won the awards for the tournament’s best player and top scorer, also appeared on CNN and MSNBC later Tuesday.

Rapinoe told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that Republican President Donald Trump’s slogan “Make America Great Again” is “harking back to an era that wasn’t great for everyone. It might’ve been great for a few people.”

Rapinoe told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow that Trump had yet to invite the women’s soccer team to the White House.

Trump had tweeted that he would invite the team, win or lose. Rapinoe has said she wouldn’t be going to the White House. The team has accepted an invitation to visit Congress.

Two of the team’s 23 players are native New Yorkers. Allie Long, a midfielder from Northport, New York, posted on Twitter about returning to her home state.

“NEW YORK: To be back home to celebrate with you all will be an honor,” she wrote.

The players have helped lead the global push for gender equality in the workplace, suing the U.S. Soccer Federation in March for gender discrimination and alleging they are paid less than the men’s team. At the final whistle of the final game of the tournament in Lyon, France, fans chanted “Equal Pay!”

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat, introduced a bill Tuesday that would bar federal funding for the men’s 2026 World Cup until the U.S. Soccer Federation provides equal pay to the women’s and men’s teams.

Prather, attending the parade with his newborn, said “it’s about time” women are paid the same as men. “It’s long overdue,” he said.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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