Thousands of supporters gathered along Broadway in New York City on Wednesday to celebrate with the US Women’s National Team following its fourth World Cup title.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who announced the ticker tape parade after the women’s win, rode with stars Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan, Julie Ertz and Carli Lloyd on a float with a globe bearing the words “World Champions” around its equator.
Crystal Dunn, Tobin Heath and another group of players rode with Gov. Andrew Cuomo on a float carrying a model of the New York skyline. White confetti fell from the sky and bagpipers played “Amazing Grace” and “America the Beautiful.”
The parade in Lower Manhattan wound from Battery Park north along Broadway to City Hall.
The soccer team won its second consecutive World Cup when it beat the Netherlands 2-0 on Sunday in France. Rapinoe scored on a penalty kick in the second half, giving the team a 1-0 lead, and Rose Lavelle added a second goal in the 69th minute.
Following the parade, broadcaster Robin Roberts introduced the team at City Hall as DJ Khaled’s “All I Do Is Win” played over the loudspeakers. Rapinoe, who won the tournament’s Golden Boot and Golden Ball, given to the top scorer and to the contest’s MVP, walked out last, holding the World Cup high to rowdy applause.
“This group is so resilient, is so tough, has such a sense of humor, is just so badass,” Rapinoe told those in attendance. “We got tea sipping. We got celebrations. We have pink hair and purple hair. We have tattoos, dreadlocks. We got white girls and black girls and everything in between. Straight girls and gay girls, hey!”
The women’s team was regaled in the same fashion as other heroes and winners, such as Nelson Mandela in 1990, the 1969 World Series champion Mets and the New York Giants team that won Super Bowl XLII in 2008.
Many fans arrived hours before Wednesday’s parade kicked off, rocking their red, white and blue. Some wore the “We Are the Champions” shirt – bearing four stars, one for each world title – that were issued to the team after Sunday’s win.
Many held signs aloft. “Rapinoe for President” – a nod to the outspoken striker who tussled with President Donald Trump on the team’s path to world domination – was a popular sentiment.
Emily Yoo, 22, made another politically charged sign, “B***h better have my money,” referencing the women’s highly publicized fight to be paid what the men’s national team is paid. She also made signs heralding defender Kelley O’Hara’s toughness and Morgan’s tea-sipping celebration.
“Hopefully I get to see one of them, they’ll notice the signs and appreciate it,” said Yoo, who arrived at 6 a.m. to get a spot on the parade route.
Yoo was not the only one with politics on her mind. Dunn, the team’s left back, held a sign that read, “Parades are cool. Equal pay is cooler.”
Fan Charlie Kruger, 20, also told CNN he appreciated the team’s stances off the field as much as he appreciated their performances on it.
“They use that platform from their success to bring these issues that everyday people across the world are struggling with,” he said.
Before the team’s introduction at City Hall, de Blasio led the crowd in a chant of “USA! Equal pay!” Later, he honored the players with keys to the city.
“Soon enough, you’re going to need to change your locks,” Morgan said, joking with the mayor.
Rapinoe closed with remarks about the potential of a White House visit (“I’m sorry; I’m busy”) the leadership of US Soccer Federation President Carlos Cordeiro (“I think he’s on the right side. I think he’s going to make things right”) and the need to leverage the publicity that comes with success to improve the world.
“We have to be better. We have to love more, hate less. We’ve got to listen more and talk less,” she said. “It’s our responsibility to make this world a better place. I think this team does an incredible job of taking that on our shoulders.”
She closed, saying, “Be more. Be better. Be bigger than you’ve ever been before.”
The city’s first ticker tape parade was held in 1886, when Wall Street workers spontaneously threw ticker tape out of their office windows to celebrate the unveiling of the Statue of Liberty, according to the Alliance’s records.
Since then, the city has hosted more than 200 parades up Broadway from the Battery to City Hall, according to the alliance. Each parade is marked with a granite strip along the parade route.
The last ticker tape parade was held in July 2015 after the women’ national team defeated Japan 5-2 to win the World Cup, according the Alliance’s records. The team was the first group of female athletes to be honored with a ticker tape parade at the time.
The US Women’s National team also won the World Cup in 1991 and 1999.
CNN’s Eric Levenson, Wayne Sterling and Susan Scutti contributed to this report.