July 10 (UPI) — The U.S. women’s soccer team celebrated their fourth World Cup victory Wednesday with a parade through New York City’s Canyon of Heroes, with co-captain Megan Rapinoe saying that though the players are women’s athletes, they’re “so much more than that.”
The festivities came three days after the U.S. Women’s National Team beat the Netherlands 2-0 in France to become back-to-back World Cup champions. It was the U.S. team’s fourth title.
During a ceremony at Manhattan’s City Hall Plaza, Rapinoe said it’s the team’s responsibility to make the world a better place.
“I think this team does an incredible job of taking that on our shoulders,” she said. “And understanding the position that we have and the platform that we have within this world.
“Yes, we play sports. Yes, we play soccer. Yes, we’re female athletes, but we’re so much more than that.”
During a speech by U.S. Soccer Federation President Carlos Cordeiro, the crowd chanted “equal pay,” a reference to a lawsuit by members the women’s team seeking the same pay as the men’s national team.
“U.S. soccer has invested more in women’s soccer than any country in the world,” he said. “And we will continue to invest –” he said as he was cut off by the chants.
Streets along the parade route closed early Tuesday to accommodate the event, and access to the Brooklyn Bridge was limited. The MTA closed certain subway entrances and exits in the area and some buses were re-routed.
The Canyon of Heroes is a stretch of Broadway in Manhattan’s financial district that’s honored some of the nation’s most historic achievements.
Pilots Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart were honored after completing trans-Atlantic flights and former President Harry Truman in 1945 following the end of World War II. In 1969, the crew of Apollo 11 — Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins — were honored in the canyon about three weeks after the former two became the first humans on the moon.
In addition to the parade, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio presented the keys to the city to the team.
This is the second time the U.S. women’s soccer team has been honored with a parade in New York City. The last, after the team’s 2015 victory, cost about $2 million, with $450,000 from private donations.
Sunday was also the second consecutive occasion the women’s World Cup final has drawn better U.S. ratings than the men’s 2018 final. The U.S. men’s team has never won the World Cup, which will again be up for grabs in Qatar in 2022. The United States will co-host the men’s event in 2026.
Team USA celebrates with the championship trophy after winning the FIFA Women’s World Cup final between the U.S. and the Netherlands. Team USA defeated the Netherlands by the score of 2-0 to capture its fourth Women’s World Cup title. Photo by David Silpa/UPI | License Photo