Obama Lauds 'Badass' World Cup Champs for Changing Perception of Female Athletes

Obama praises U.S. women's soccer for changing view of female athletes.

— -- President Obama welcomed the U.S. Women’s national soccer team to the White House today, praising the 2015 FIFA World Cup Champions for changing the way American children view female athletes.

“This team taught all America's children that ‘playing like a girl’ means you're a badass,” Obama quipped, drawing cheers and laughter. “Perhaps I shouldn't have used that phrase.”

The president then toned down his word choice, telling the friendly audience that “playing like a girl means being the best.”

“It means drawing the largest TV audience for a soccer match -- men or women's -- in American history. It means wearing our nation's crest on your jersey, taking yourself and your country to the top of the world,” the president said. “That's what American women do.”

After the event, Abby Wambach, a star forward on the team, told ABC News the president’s “badass” comment was “one of the best statements” he could deliver.

“When somebody says, 'You throw like a girl, you run like a girl,' I'm kind of like, ‘Yeah, you're damn right I do,’ and I think that's what that statement is and I think that our team completely encompasses that,” Wambach said. “We want to be proud of being female. We want to be proud of having 25 million people watching that game and we want to be proud of pushing the sport forward not just on the field but also off the field."