Megan Rapinoe danced, danced and then danced some more during the U.S. women’s national team’s ticker-tape parade in New York on Wednesday, first atop the float that transported the World Cup champs along the stretch of Broadway known as the “Canyon of Heroes” and then on the steps of City Hall, where New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) presented the Golden Boot winner and each of her teammates a key to the city.
DJ Khaled’s “All I do is Win” blared from the loudspeakers as Rapinoe made her grand entrance at the post-parade ceremony, after she was introduced by “Good Morning America” anchor Robin Roberts.
When Rapinoe stepped to the dais to address the crowd — the 34-year-old was the last to speak after comments from U.S. Soccer Federation President Carlos Cordeiro, U.S. Coach Jill Ellis and teammate Carli Lloyd, among others — she said she was at a loss for words. She quickly found them, as she did throughout the tournament, and made it clear she has no intention of succeeding President Trump in the White House.
“This group is so resilient, is so tough, has such a sense of humor,” Rapinoe said. “It’s just so badass. There’s nothing that can faze this group. We’re chilling. We got tea-sippin', we got celebrations. We have pink hair and purple hair, we have tattoos and dreadlocks. We got white girls and black girls and everything in between. Straight girls and gay girls. I couldn’t be more proud to be a co-captain with Carli and Alex [Morgan] of this team. It’s my absolute honor to lead this team out on the field. There’s no other place that I would rather be, even in the presidential race. I’m busy, I’m sorry.”
Rapinoe thanked the U.S. team’s entire support staff, including coaches, doctors, videographers and chefs. She also thanked Cordeiro, who was greeted with chants of “equal pay!” and a few boos when he took the microphone. Rapinoe and her teammates sued the U.S. Soccer Federation for gender discrimination, citing wages and working conditions that are inferior to those of their less successful male counterparts, three months before the World Cup began.
“Everybody in the position of power gets booed,” Rapinoe said. “I’m going to stick my neck out there a little bit. I’m going to endorse Carlos. I think he’s with us, I think he’s on the right side of things, I think he’s going to make things right. He’s proven every day since he’s been in office for us that he’s with us.”
While looking directly at Cordeiro, who was seated to her right, Rapinoe added that she looked forward to “holding those feet to the fire.”
Rapinoe concluded her speech with a “charge to everyone.”
“We have to be better,” she said. “We have to love more, hate less. We got to listen more and talk less. We got to know that this is everybody’s responsibility. Every single person here, every single person who’s not here, every single person who doesn’t want to be here. Every single person who agrees and doesn’t agree. It’s our responsibility to make this world a better place.”
Rapinoe reiterated what she’s said in several interviews since the Americans returned from France as champions on Monday: that she believes her team’s impact extends beyond its accomplishments on the pitch.
“There’s been so much contention in these last years,” Rapinoe said. “I’ve been a victim of that, I’ve been a perpetrator of that. With our fight with the [U.S. Soccer Federation], I’m sorry for some of the things I said. Not all of the things. But it’s time to come together. This conversation is at the next step. We have to collaborate. It takes everybody. This is my charge to everybody: Do what you can. Do what you have to do. Step outside yourself. Be more, be better, be bigger than you’ve ever been before. If this team is any representation of what you can be when you do that, please take this as an example. This group is incredible. We took so much on our shoulders to be here today, to celebrate with you today, and we did it with a smile. So do the same for us, please, I ask you.”
As the crowd in City Hall Park cheered and the teammates seated behind her rose, Rapinoe stretched her arms out and shouted: “New York City, you’re the mother f------ best!”
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