NEW YORK: Tens of thousands of fans are poised to pack the streets of New York on Wednesday to salute the World Cup-winning US women’s team in a ticker-tape parade.
Four years after roaring fans lined the route of Lower Manhattan’s fabled “Canyon of Heroes” to cheer the US women winning the 2015 World Cup, the Big Apple is poised for another raucous celebration.
An open-top bus will transport the team along the route, which runs from Battery Park up Broadway before finally arriving at City Hall for a ceremony hosted by New York Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Wednesday’s parade, which is due to get under way at 9:30 am local time (1330 GMT), is in line with a city 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.
After the New York celebration, the players will jet off to California to appear at the ESPYS, the US sports world’s equivalent of the Oscars, taking place in Los Angeles later on Wednesday.
– ‘Victory Tour’ –
The team will then be back on the road next month to play in a five-game series of friendly international matches billed as a “Victory Tour”, starting with a clash against Ireland at the Pasadena Rose Bowl on August 3.
On Monday, the team returned home from France, 24 hours after defeating the Netherlands 2-0 in Sunday’s final to clinch a record-extending fourth World Cup crown.
Player of the tournament Megan Rapinoe and her teammates smiled and sang the Queen anthem “We Are the Champions” after emerging from a charter jet at Newark Liberty International Airport.
While the team is feted across the country, the squad has also been held up as champions of gender equality.
The team is suing the United States Soccer Federation to demand equal pay with their male counterparts, and fan chants of “equal pay” cascaded from the stands at the Stade de Lyon after Sunday’s victory.
The outspoken Rapinoe has also been unafraid to criticise President Donald Trump, saying last month that she would not accept an invitation from him to visit the White House if the USA won the World Cup.
Trump responded by tweeting that Rapinoe should “win first before she talks.”
Speaking to ESPN on Tuesday, Rapinoe noted she had “held up my end of the bargain on that one” before adding that the Twitter exchange with Trump had actually helped the team in France.
She also reiterated that she would not be going to the White House, saying on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360” that: “I would not go and every teammate that I’ve talked to explicitly about it would not go.”
“I don’t think anyone on the team has any interest in lending the platform that we’ve worked so hard to build and the things that we fight for and the way that we live our life, I don’t think we want that to be co-opted or corrupted by this administration.”