President Obama worked just a little blue on Wednesday as he welcomed the U.S. women’s soccer team to the White House, heaping praise on the world champs in a lighthearted ceremony. “This team taught all America’s children that ‘playing like a girl’ means you’re a badass,” he said.

After a round of applause,  Obama looked rueful, but not entirely apologetic. “Perhaps I shouldn’t have used that phrase,” he mused from the podium.

Obama called out individual players and said their collective effort led to their victory . “They…put America back on top of the soccer world,” he said.