U.S. Women’s soccer team honored with parade in New York City

U.S. women's soccer team midfielder Megan Rapinoe, center, holds up the World Cup trophy as midfielder Carli Lloyd, left, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, left background, and head coach Jill Ellis, right, wave to the crowd as their float makes it way up Broadway's Canyon of Heroes during the ticker tape parade to celebrate the U.S. women's soccer team World Cup victory, Friday, July 10, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

NEW YORK (AP) — Throngs of young girls and other flag-waving fans of the U.S. women’s soccer team filled lower Manhattan Friday morning for a ticker-tape parade celebrating its Women’s World Cup victory.

The parade-goers — many wearing red, white and blue — started gathering at 3:30 a.m. along the Canyon of Heroes, a stretch of Broadway where the nation’s largest city has honored its legends. When the parade got underway at 11 a.m., the crowd was as much as 10 deep along the route. Chants of “USA! USA!” were distinctly high-pitched.

It was the first-ever ticker-tape parade in New York for a women’s sports team — a fact not lost on the crowd. A 4th floor window on a building near the route was decorated with a homemade sign that reads “Girl Power” with four American flags.

“I’m glad to see girls getting a parade,” said 9-year-old Christinah Delesine, who wore a blue soccer shirt. “There should be more.”

Robert Sanfiz, brought his three children — Julia, 8, Chris, 7 and Tommy, 2 — to take in the spectacle.

“It’s great for her to see women finally be represented,” Sanfiz said. “It’s great for her self-esteem.”

Ireland Giaquinto, 13, held a sign reading, “Thank you for letting me dream.”

All 23 players from the team — none of whom are from New York City, though four hail from nearby New Jersey — were riding on four of 12 floats. One of the floats was carrying the World Cup trophy, along with tournament’s most valuable player, Carli Lloyd, and Mayor Bill de Blasio. Gov. Andrew Cuomo was on a separate float.

The players could be seen taking selfies and shooting photos of the crowd. As the parade started, goalkeeper Hope Solo tweeted: “We couldn’t be more excited be here!” with a photo of herself and five teammates.

The celebration also featured marching bands, and was hosted by broadcaster Robin Roberts and former soccer star Heather Mitts. At its conclusion, the team will be honored by de Blasio in front of a crowd of 3,500 people at City Hall Plaza.

The southern end of Broadway is the traditional spot for New York City ticker-tape parades. Most of the route is lined with tall office buildings on both sides, allowing workers to toss bits of paper onto the celebrants below.

The United States has returned to the top of the FIFA women’s rankings after winning the World Cup. The U.S. toppled Germany after beating Japan 5-2 in Sunday’s final in Vancouver to collect the top prize in women’s soccer for the first time in 16 years.

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