World Cup Champions' Families, Fans Excited for NYC Ticker Tape Parade

The stage is almost set, and it feels like all of New York City is cranked for Friday's ticker-tape parade celebrating the U.S. women's soccer team's World Cup victory. 

On Friday, the champs will parade up Broadway from the Battery to City Hall beginning at 11 a.m. on a route known as the Canyon of Heroes. It's the first time in more than half a century that the honor will be bestowed upon female athletes.

NBC 4 New York will be live streaming the parade on air and online.

The quickly planned parade presented a logistical challenge for the city, but it was an easy decision for Mayor de Blasio, according to his spokesman. 

"We've seen this team inspire, serve as role models for kids," said Phil Walzak, the mayor's communications director. "It's the fitting and proper thing to do." 

All 23 team members will be attending. The city estimates the cost of the parade at $2 million, with $1.5 million coming from the city and $450,000 in private donations. The city is continuing to raise private funds and hopes to further defray public funds. 

More than 12,000 fans flooded the city's 311 lines Wednesday afternoon for a chance to win a ticket to the special presentation at City Hall. Walzak said the lucky people who got a ticket will get their confirmation soon.

For those who didn't, there will be plenty of room to cheer along the parade route. 

The Canyon of Heroes has seen popes, heads of state, the World Series-winning Yankees, the Super Bowl-winning Giants, and a man who walked on the moon. And now, a new marker will be added on Broadway for the World Cup champs.

"It'll be fantastic. The Canyon of Heroes is the absolute perfect place to celebrate these heroines," said Jessica Lappin of the Downtown Alliance.

Forward Abby Wambach tweeted Tuesday: "Looks like we now are headed to NYC!! Very humbled by this... #the celebration continues." 

"NYC we will see you Friday! #WorldChamps," added team member Alex Morgan

The U.S. defeated Japan 5-2 on Sunday in Canada to win the World Cup, propelled by the heroic three-goal hat trick of South Jersey native Carli Lloyd.

Another New Jersey native, Heather O'Reilly, will also be among the feted team members. Her parents Andrew and Carol O'Reilly shared memories and photos of their World Cup champion daughter from their home Wednesday.

They said she began playing organized soccer in East Brunswick when she was 5 years old, and Andrew saw something special in his daughter.

"It's a bit scary because you see in your young child this potential, you just hope you can manage it," he said.

Heather O'Reilly grew up with three older, competitive brothers, and she earned the nickname "The Angry Chicken" for her determined play that helped the University of North Carolina win two national championships. When she was 17, she was selected for the U.S. national team to replace the legendary but injured Mia Hamm.  

This year's victory over Japan came four years after they had expected to win the previous World Cup. 

"The bitter loss the last time, they didn't want to happen again," said Carol. 

Now, after 25 years proving herself to be the best of the best, the O'Reillys will see their daughter and her team honored with a ticker tape parade.

"I am so glad for the girls because they deserve it, they've earned it," said Andrew O'Reilly. "It's not an honor given lightly by New York City." 

The last female athlete to earn the honor of the confetti shower was Olympic figure skating gold medalist Carol Heiss Jenkins in 1960, according to the Alliance for Downtown New York. Jenkins told The Wall Street Journal Tuesday that she wanted to see the women's soccer team celebrate in a similar manner. The U.S. women's team is the first female sports team to earn the honor. 

The events have been known as ticker-tape parades, from the ticker tape that was showered down upon those being celebrated from people in the nearby buildings. The ticker tape has been replaced by paper confetti.

The U.S. women's soccer team was honored with a rally in Los Angeles on Tuesday. The group is also expected to make a visit to the White House.

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