NYC salutes Women's World Cup champs with historic parade

Jul 10, 2015 3:10 PM by News Staff

NEW YORK -- Throngs of young girls and other 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 five deep or more along the route. Some chanted, "USA! USA!"

"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."

John Comer watched the festivities with his young son and two daughters.

"I think it's important the girls have role models," he said. "It's a chance to see women celebrated for doing something positive."

All 23 players from the team - none of whom are from New York City, though four hail from nearby New Jersey - will ride on four of 12 floats. One of the floats will carry the World Cup trophy, along with tournament's most valuable player, Carli Lloyd, and Mayor Bill de Blasio.

"I think we're gonna look back 10, 20 years from now, and that's when it's fully going to soak in," Lloyd told "CBS This Morning" Friday before the parade. "I think we don't realize how up we are right now, but you know we're etched in history, we just created history, we're part of it. I'm so proud of everyone."

The celebration will also feature marching bands and be 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.

Officials unfurled the world's largest free-flying American flag from the George Washington Bridge as a tribute to the team. The 450-pound flag was flown Friday as New York City threw the parade

Its stripes are about 5 feet wide. The stars measure about 4 feet in diameter. It's hung yearly for Flag Day on the bridge that connects New York City with New Jersey.

A few female athletes have been honored in the Canyon of Heroes, CBS News correspondent Anna Werner reported. In 1926, Gertrude Ederle, the first woman to swim the English Channel, was greeted by hordes of fans, and in 1960, Olympic figure skating gold medalist Carol Heiss Jenkins was celebrated.

But Friday marks the first time an all-female team received the honor.

A company shredded 1,500 pounds of paper for Friday's celebration, Werner reported.

"We are part of history, I guess. We look down at the end of the parade and see all our paper there and we' know that whoever came down the Canyon of Heroes was celebrated with our paper," said John Pellegrino of Atlas Materials.

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