Fri, Jul 12, 2019 - Page 16 News List

NY fetes US women’s team amid chants of ‘equal pay’

AFP, NEW YORK

Thousands on Wednesday cheer the US women’s national team at a parade in New York City celebrating their victory in the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Photo: Reuters

Amid chants of “equal pay,” “USA” and streams of confetti, the FIFA Women’s World Cup-winning US women’s soccer team was on Wednesday feted by tens of thousands of adoring fans with a ticker tape victory parade in New York.

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 cheering fans lining the parade route along Lower Manhattan’s fabled “Canyon of Heroes.”

Under bright sunny skies, office workers showered the players with white confetti thrown from the windows of skyscrapers lining Broadway.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio joined the World Cup stars on Rapinoe’s float and later hosted the team in a ceremony at city hall to present them with the symbolic “Keys to the City.”

“This group is so resilient, is so tough, has such a sense of humor, is just so bad ass,” Rapinoe told the crowd at city hall. “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.”

Star striker Alex Morgan also addressed the crowd.

“We have been known as America’s favorite soccer team, but from here on out, we’ll just be known as America’s team,” Morgan said.

Players were met with chants of “equal pay” during the parade and on one float, they displayed a poster given to them by someone in the crowd that read: “Parades Are Cool, Equal Pay Is Cooler.”

While the team is celebrated 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 pay equal to their male counterparts, and chants of “equal pay” also cascaded from the stands at the Stade de Lyon in France after Sunday’s victory over the Netherlands.

The parade, which lasted about an hour, was in line with a New York tradition that dates back more than a century.

While the honor has been bestowed on everyone from astronauts to record-breakers, soldiers and world leaders, in the past few 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.

The ticker tape parade was just the first stop on a protracted victory lap that is to send the team across the US in the coming months.

After the festivities in New York, the players were to jet off to California to appear at the ESPYs, the US sports world’s equivalent of the Oscars, taking place in Los Angeles.

The team would then be back on the road next month to play in a five-game series of international friendlies billed as a “Victory Tour,” starting with a clash against Ireland at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, on Aug. 3.

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