July 10, 2015
By Michael Lewis
A BLIZZARD OF CONFETTI AND LOVE
USA women get a heroine's welcome on a memorable Friday afternoon in NYC
NEW YORK -- Hell certainly did not freeze over when the U.S. women's national team won its record third Women's World Cup last week, but the newly crowned world champions made it snow in the Big Apple in July.
|USA team members enjoy their ride during the ticker-tape parade.
And not just in white, but in red, white and blue.
The American women were feted with an historical ticker-tape parade in the Canyon of Heroes for securing the Women's World Cup, the first time a team has won the coveted trophy three times. They became the first women's athlete since Olympic figure skating champion Carol Heiss Jenkins in 1960 to receive a ticker-tape parade.
"When they brought home that trophy, they also brought a message about the power of women," New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said to the throngs at City Hall.
While living the greatest week of their lives, the Americans were humbled by the outpouring of support from tens of thousands of people who lined both sides of Broadway in lower Manhattan to cheer the latest great American heroes.
There was plenty to cheer about as all 23 players and head coach Jill Ellis certainly enjoyed yet another day in the sun and under confetti and shredded paper after this championship team that became the first side to win three Women's World Cups via a shattering 5-2 triumph over Japan in Vancouver last Sunday.
Each player, coach and staff received a key to the city and many cheers from the crowd, which boosted Lloyd and Wambach the most.
"Well I'm a Jersey girl, a Philly fan, but New York City, you're awesome," said World Cup MVP Lloyd of Delran, N.J. to a crowd of several thousand people at City Hall. "Having this parade in New York City was one of the best moments of my entire life."
Lloyd's sentiments were echoed by her teammates, including Wambach, the veteran striker who seems to have the last word on many occasions.
"Thank you guys so much," the world's all-time international goal-scorer addressed the standing-room-only crowd. "I've had a lot of ... experiences throughout my career, but this has to gone down as one of, if not, the best thing I have been a part of in my life."
And even Ellis got into act as well. Like many of her answers to questions during World Cup press conferences, her speech was short and sweet.
"Winning the World Cup was pretty special but today was mind-blowing," a smiling Ellis said. "Thank you New York, thank you the mayor. And No. I thank you for all our fans who kept with us and who believed in us."
The fans certainly let the team know how they felt during the parade as white snowed down on the players, friends and family in the floats and onlookers and supporters on the sidewalk.
On the float that said FIFA Women's World Cup champions, midfielder Megan Rapinoe, with a big smile on her face, clutched the prized trophy with one hand while waving to the crowd with the other.
"It's totally surreal," Rapinoe said later. "I feel logically, I get it. I understand how big it is, transcending so many different platforms. But to be in it, it's so overwhelming."
When every player was introduced, de Blasio gave everyone a high five, much to the delight of the enthusiastic throng.
After the speeches were made, the USA team came together at the podium one last time when a flurry of red, white and blue confetti rained down on them and the rest of the crowd, completing a memorable and historical day.