— -- The U.S. women's soccer team was honored today with a historic ticker-tape parade and City Hall ceremony in New York City following the team’s World Cup triumph.
The parade marked the first time a women’s sports team is receiving a ride down the city’s famed Canyon of Heroes.
"Let me tell you it's about time, isn't it?" Mayor Bill de Blasio said after the parade during a ceremony at City Hall. "You can see out there the love that the people of this city and the people of this country have for this team and what they mean to all of us."
All 23 members of the team traveled through downtown Manhattan aboard 12 floats, heading up Broadway from Battery Park to City Hall, where de Blasio addressed the team and the crowd. The players were then handed keys to the city by the mayor during a ceremony hosted by ABC's Robin Roberts.
Abby Wambach, from Rochester, New York, thanked fans and said it was an honor to be a part of the parade.
“All of this for us started when we were little and we had a dream,” Wambach said, noting the team’s campaign to girls “#SheBelieves.” “In my opinion all the women believed in that dream and kept believing in that dream, not only from the time they were 5 or 10 but through the time we won the World Cup.”
The parade cost $2 million, with $1.5 million coming from New York City and $450,000 in private donations, according to city officials. The sponsors include Coca-Cola, New York Red Bulls, Nike, Powerade, Ritz Crackers and Trident Gum. The New York Giants' Super Bowl Parade in 2012 cost approximately $1.7 million, of which $330,000 came from private donations, the city said. That parade resulted in 35 tons of debris, including confetti.
New York City has hosted more than 200 such parades since 1886, honoring famed politicians and Olympians, as well as adventurers such as Amelia Earhart and the Apollo 11 astronauts, but never before a women’s sports team.
While none of the players hail from the city, four members of the team, including midfielder Carli Lloyd, grew up in nearby New Jersey.
Over 12,000 people had requested free tickets to the City Hall Plaza event, which can host more than 3,500 people. A raffle selected the attendees.
No longer ticker tape from Wall Street, the confetti comes from multiple sources, including the Downtown Alliance and residential buildings and businesses along the route that purchase it, the city said. Officials say the goal is to recycle the confetti, but they must sift through contaminants such as bottles and cans.
After the parade, the city will have more than 400 men and women assigned to clean up the mess, including 14 collection trucks and 100 backpack blowers.