By Shay Joseph,
Sports Business Writer
In July, the Women’s National Soccer team became world champions after defeating Japan in the 2015 World Cup. In honor of their win, New York City threw a ticker-tape parade for the team just five days later. They were the first female team to be honored down the Canyon of Heroes. However, the praises and celebrations did not stop there.
On Oct. 27, President Barack Obama welcomed the squad to the White House to honor them. With trophy in hand, all members of the team got to tour the White House and brought along a jersey for the President to keep.
They were praised for their performance both on and off the field as well as their ability to inspire Americans all over the country. In addition, he emphasized the positive image and great example set for future generations especially little girls.
There has always been a negative stigma attached to the saying ‘play like a girl’ since the beginning of time, but President Obama made it clear what it really meant to play like a girl.
Obama stated, “This team taught all America’s children that ‘playing like a girl’ means playing like a badass. Playing like a girl means being the best.” They have made all girls believe they can win and achieve their dreams as well as changing the perception boys have of girls. Moreover, he alludes to their accomplishment of drawing the largest TV audience for an American soccer match which includes both men and women’s games.
Viewership for the 2015 Women’s World Cup final eclipsed the 1.2 million mark on Telemundo and the 20 million mark on FOX and FOX Sports 1. Nielsen stated that more and more Americans tuned into the match as it went on. By 8:30, the team was already on pace to beating their viewership record from the last World Cup final. No other American soccer game has pulled in the numbers that they pulled in.
New Jersey native and World Cup MVP Carli Lloyd, got a special shout out from the President for her spectacular three goal performance in the final. He joked that her Wikipedia page had been changed from midfielder to President of the United States during the match.
So anyone wondering which person President Obama believes can be the next President should look no further than Lloyd. Obama says Lloyd would know more about being President than the current candidates.
U.S. soccer was also applauded for their “She Believes” campaign which was launched just one month before the start of the World Cup. The initiative encouraged women and girls to believe in themselves and their talent. It sought to push females to aspire to achieve their goals. Fans were also asked to tweet the hashtag on social media to show that they believed and supported the team.
Following the end of his speech, the President was presented with his own jersey with the number 44 by head coach Jill Ellis. The event was then capped with a selfie taken by the President with the entire team.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, November 17th print edition.
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