- WATCH IT AGAIN: See The Entire Parade, Key To The City Presentation
- SHARE IT FIRST: U.S. Womens' Teammates, Fans Tweet From The Parade
- PHOTOS: Celebrating The U.S. Womens' Team Along The Canyon Of Heroes
- COMPLETE COVERAGE: World Cup 2019
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Thousands of jubilant fans cheered and screamed as the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team was given a special ovation on Wednesday, courtesy of the Big Apple: A ticker-tape parade up the Canyon of Heroes.
The team's World Cup victory inspired fans young and old to line the parade route, cheering their hearts out.
"We're so excited to be here because we enjoy watching the team on TV and we enjoy, like, feeling proud," one young girl who attended the parade told CBS2's Cindy Hsu.
"I've learned to never give up on your team and to always have fun during the game," another young fan said.
The champs could be seen chanting "equal pay" as they rode up the Canyon of Heroes.
According to Nielsen ratings and other streaming services, here in the United States, Sunday's match ranked as one of the highest-rated soccer telecasts in history. It drew bigger ratings than the 2018 men's World Cup final.
U.S. Soccer has said that the women are paid less because their games typically bring in less revenue and lower ratings, but according to the federation's own financial reports, the women's team generated more total revenue than the men's in the three years after the women's 2015 World Cup victory.
After the parade, the team gathered at City Hall to be presented with Keys to the City.
"This is how we welcome our heroes back home," first lady Chirlane McCray said. "The world has been watching these athletes in awe over the last month. They showed us what it means to work hard and never give up. They inspired us with incredible skill and flawless teamwork. And they showed us that playing like a girl is to be unbeatable."
"This team brought us together. This team showed us so much to make us hopeful. Today we had a moment we will remember for the rest of our lives," de Blasio said. "They have inspired millions and millions, and they have inspired particularly to believe in themselves, to be brave and to be bold, to be fierce. What this team has done will live in our history because everyone in their heart feels this is America's team, and we could not be more proud of our team."
The players danced and cheered as they were welcomed to the stage at City Hall.
"I'm just super proud of every single player on this team. It took all 23 players to get to this point. Everybody played a role," said champ Carli Lloyd, originally from Delran, N.J.
Co-captain Megan Rapinoe gave a speech asking people to be better to the people around them and try to improve the lives of those in their community.
The soccer stars have been shining bright in the city all week, drawing crowds everywhere they go.
"They're big role models on and off the field," one fan told CBS2.
"I think we're all just excited to welcome them home," said another.
Commuter Alert: Street Closures, Service Changes
"It was really exciting, it was crazy," one young soccer fan said. "We saw the world champions."
"I'm just excited to be here and sharing it with my daughter, letting her see there's something she can aim for if she wants to, and play competitive sports. So that's awesome to see," one woman told CBS2's Alice Gainer.
"There's no words. Excitement to see them actually here. To have them experience it? Just... joy," one woman said.
"It was great to watch them experience this," one man said.
Fans of all ages welcomed the team Wednesday, including 6-year-old Ana Bravo, who showed off her jersey signed by two players.
"Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe," she said. "They're good soccer players and they're my favorite soccer players."
The women won their record fourth World Cup championship with a 2-0 victory over the Netherlands on Sunday in France.
What better way to celebrate than with a ticker-tape parade here at home? Workers hammered away at gold-trimmed floats for the athletes to ride.
Photo Gallery: U.S. Women's National Team Celebrates World Cup Win
"With a victory parade, the thing is you can't really completely get started until, naturally, they win. So as soon as they win, it's rock-and-roll time," Robert DeVito, of Bond Parade Floats, said.
More than one ton of shredded, recycled paper was rained down on the champs. Fans from all over the map were there, lining the streets to shower the team with love.
"It's a thrilling day and it's wonderful to have them. What a victory for women, what a victory for America," said Pennsylvania resident Paul Williams. "It was incredible."
"Everyone's so excited, because the world champions are here," 7-year-old Mary Tyson said.
The city's last ticker-tape parade was also for the women's national team after its 2015 World Cup win.
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