NEW YORK: Amid chants of “equal pay”, “USA” and streams of confetti, the World Cup-winning US women’s football team was feted by tens of thousands of adoring fans with a ticker-tape parade in New York on Wednesday.
The squad’s 2-0 win over Netherlands in the final match on Sunday capped a World Cup campaign that attracted vast television audiences, reflecting the popularity of a US team that has dominated women’s international competition, winning a record fourth title.
Wearing identical black T-shirts emblazoned with the words “World Champions” in gold letters, members of the US squad waved to the crowds from slow-moving open-top floats.
Player of the tournament Megan Rapinoe struck her iconic goal-scoring pose as she displayed the World Cup trophy to the roaring crowds lining the route along Lower Manhattan’s fabled “Canyon of Heroes.” Under bright sunny skies, office workers showered the players with streams of white confetti thrown from the windows of skyscrapers lining the parade route.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio joined the US World Cup stars on Rapinoe’s float and later hosted the US team in a ceremony at City Hall to present them with the “Keys to the City.”
Players were met with chants of “equal pay” and on one float they displayed a poster given to them by someone in the crowd which read “Parades Are Cool, Equal Pay Is Cooler.” While the team is feted across the country, the squad has also been held up as champions of gender equality.
The women’s team is suing the US Soccer Federation to demand equal pay with their male counterparts, and fan chants of “equal pay” also cascaded from the stands at the Stade de Lyon after Sunday’s victory.
“We stand with them in solidarity. Equal pay for equal work,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo told a press conference at the start of the parade, after signing into law an equal pay bill passed by the New York State Legislature this year.
The parade, which lasted about an hour, is in line with a “Big Apple” tradition that dates back more than a century.
While the honour has been bestowed on everyone from astronauts to record-breakers, soldiers and world leaders, in recent decades it has more commonly been used to celebrate sports victories by teams such as baseball’s New York Yankees or the NFL’s New York Giants.
Wednesday’s ticker-tape fiesta is just the first stop on a protracted victory lap that will send the team across the United States in the coming months.
Published in Dawn, July 11th, 2019