We all at one time in our lives want to make history. Set our place in time where we would be remember forever. To inspire others to reach their fullest potential and follow in the footsteps of the person or people that made a dream possible. Last week, the lead up to history occurred for the United States Women’s National Soccer Team when the won their third World Cup in Vancouver and it concluded by turning the being the first heroines to have a parade in the “city that never sleeps.”
After taking down Japan 5-2 in the World Cup Final a week ago, America’s newest sweethearts were saluted by thousands with deafening roars and cheers for those 23 women who became the first women’s team in history to have a ticker-tape parade down The Canyon of Heroes to New York City Hall this past Friday.
Head coach Jill Ellis mentioned that she Googled ticker-tape parades because she did not know much about them.
“I’ve been asked about today and I said winning the World Cup was pretty special, but today was mind blowing. So thank you New York,” Ellis, an Englishwoman said at the ceremony at City Hall on Friday.
Baskin Ridge, N.J. native Tobin Heath who scored the fifth goal for the U.S. against Japan said she was not sure how many people would show up.
Well thousands, young and old, male and female, soccer fans and fans full of love for our country showed up and cheered they could not cheer anymore. They showed up in the colors of red, white and blue and with cameras to capture each moment.
U.S. goalie Hope Solo said to the crowd during the parade and sporting an FDNY hat on Friday, “Were so happy to be here in New York City. This is incredible. The fans have come out and we have the best fans in all of America. Were World Champs baby!”
At City Hall, Mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray handed out keys to the city to each of the players and coaches.
In his speech, the mayor said, “When they brought home that trophy they brought back a message about the power of women, about the strength of women and about the need to create a more equal society for all. You can see out there the love that the people of this city and the people of this country have for this team and what they mean to all of us. You can see it in faces of men and women. Boys and Girls and it was the purest, deepest sense of admiration our hearts are with this team, aren’t they?”
Emceeing the festivities at City Hall was ABCNEWS “Good Morning America” anchor Robin Roberts, who said, “Yes its one nation. Yes its one team, but that team is here with us in New York City today.”
It was a very special moment for a team that won its third World Cup in history and they were greeted in a major way during the parade.
The crowd featured young girls sporting soccer uniforms to young men wearing Alex Morgan jerseys.
The idea for this ground breaking moment came from Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and former top aide to ex-Mayor Michael Bloomberg Howard Wolfson.
Brewer watched the contest at the United Federation of Teachers headquarters on Broadway last Sunday with 100 girls from youth soccer leagues across the city.
“As somebody who follows soccer, to see the greatest women’s team in the world go up the canyon of heroines and to have the excitement out on the street and here at the UFT, with these young women, it is very special,” Brewer said to the New York Daily News on Friday.
This was not just a celebration for a team that won a championship in one of the most thrilling 90-minute exhibition. It was a celebration of how they got there.
Prior to this World Cup, people knew Solo and legendary striker Abby Wambach were. The world though, got the opportunity to know the name Delran, N.J. native Carli Lloyd, especially after her record setting three-goal performance in 16 minutes in the title game.
“The World Cup was a dream come true, but having this parade in New York City was one of the best moments of my entire life,” Lloyd, A Rutgers University Alum said at City Hall on Friday.
Wambach said of the parade, “absolutely will go down as one of, if not, the best thing I have ever been a part of in my life.”
The U.S. women also exacted revenge against a team that ripped the title from them four years ago.
While last Friday was a culmination for the U.S. Women’s National Soccer team, reaching this moment for these 23 athletes and their head coach began long ago, something Wambach mentioned to the crowd at City Hall on Friday.
“We have this campaign called, ‘She Believes.’ And in my opinion, all the women up here on this stage believed in that dream. Kept believing in that dream. Not only from the time they were 5, 10, 15 [years of age], but the entire World Cup. And I believe that is the reason why we won this World Cup is because none of us ever stopped believing and neither should you,” the Rochester, NY native and the leading scorer in Women’s National team history said.
There are very few times that a team can be an inspiration across the board from young people to “Golden Age” folks. This World Cup team did that in spades. They especially did that for Pearl River NY native Mary Kate O’Callaghan, who said of the World Cup champs, “These women are excellent role models for my girls."
A lot of the young girls who were at the parade on Friday said to WABC’s Nina Pineda that the message they learned from the U.S. Women’s World Cup title team was that they can do anything. They can be free and do what you want. Play strong and that, “girls play as hard as boys do and it’s nothing different.”
West Side Soccer Club member Hyland Brown, who watched the parade from New York office perch along with some of her teammates said to WNBC’s Andrew Siff, “We all wanted to praise them for their accomplishments. I just wanted to come and support the team.”
“It’s amazing to see that we can take this big huge step and be happy about it and be proud,” Lily Tom, a native of Elmsford, NY said on Friday to Siff.
A little over 21 days ago, the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team began their World Cup journey in New York City. They not only finished their journey with their aforementioned third World Cup trophy, but they made history becoming the first women’s team to have a parade in the “city that never sleeps.” They were presented keys to the city. More than anything else, they were given a memory that they will have for the rest of their lives and they gave a memory for young children, especially young girls that professional women athletes can be celebrated in the same out of this world style like the men are. Also, young women who dream big as these 23 women did can have their dream, what it may be, become a reality. Especially if it is being a part of a championship World Cup team that has a parade in their honor.
“This parade is going to change people’s view of women’s sports. Not just soccer, but just women’s sports in general. It’s going to open up people’s eyes that women do have a place not only in sports, but in this world,” soccer fan Ariel Collins said to Pineda on Friday.
Information and quotes are courtesy of 7/10/15 5 p.m. edition of WNBC “News 4 New York at 5,” with David Ushery and Sibila Vargas; reports from Andrew Siff and Ray Villeda; 7/10/15 4 p.m. edition of WABC “Eyewitness News First at 4” with David Navarro and Sandra Bookman; report from Laura Behnke and Nina Pineda; 7/11/15 New York Daily News articles “Parade & Joy,” by Chelsia Rose Marcius, Erik Badia, Barry Paddock and Corky Siemaszko and “Great Cap to Cup,” by Wayne Coffey.