New York City proved the best venue for showcasing a positive aspect to International Federation of Football Association (FIFA) and the athletic women champions who won their third World Cup recently.
With all the fanfare surrounding a ticker-tape parade up the Canyon of Heroes, the U.S. female champions probably did more to restore confidence in the international governing body than any group of men could.
“When they brought home that trophy they also brought back a message about the power of women, about the strength of women and about the need to create a more equal society for all,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
Following months of negative media reports about FIFA male officers involving corruption, the women of the international league kicked winning press for the sport, its mission and for a gender that still lags behind the men in reaping equity in pay.
That at peak, 30 million viewers watched the team play a soccer tournament held in Vancouver, British Columbia was already an unimaginable feat to ignore given that much less those numbers ever watched the men when they vied for the same title.
According to reports, those viewers out-number viewing audience that watch the National Basketball Association finals, the National Hockey League, the National Football League and Major League Baseball.
One report is that “in many countries, more than half of the population tuned into the last FIFA World Cup.”
The USA’s 5-2 victory over Japan marks the most- watched soccer match in U.S. history.
One week ago — July 10 — after America celebrated Independence Day, red white and blue colored Broadway and a crowded path up the Canyon of Heroes to City Hall where team players were given the keys to New York City.
Men, women and children cheered the victory.
A legion of women touted the gender and the game.
And soccer moms represented with banners declaring “We are the Champions of the World.”
First Lady Michelle Obama might have cheered from the White House as one of the inclusive mothers whose daughters — Sasha and Malia — spend their off times on the green kicking a ball into a goal.
Captain Carli Lloyd, a New Jersey native, likened the experience to “a dream come true, but having this parade in New York City was one of the best moments of my entire life.”
It has been 55 years since a woman was honored with confetti.
The first parade held for a female athlete was held in 1926 for Gertrude Ederle, the first woman to swim the English Channel.
The last parade held exclusively for a female athlete was held in 1960 for women’s Olympic figure-skating champion Carol Heiss.
For many young girls aspiring to the sport, their reaction was that the victory was “inspirational.”
Heiss attributes the championship gain to playing “technical and tactical” games.
She also attributes much of the team’s success to the support from loyal fans and their confidence-boosting mantra — “She Believes.”
The first women’s sports team to be honored in such a manner are among those suggested for the gender’s adornment to the revised $10 bill, however, as time ticks, a long list of achieving women will be named.
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