NOEL KING, HOST:
New York City is getting ready to party with 23 of the most popular women in the country. A ticker-tape parade honoring the U.S. women's national soccer team will wind its way through what's known as the Canyon of Heroes this morning. It'll start near Wall Street and finish up at City Hall. NPR's Neda Ulaby filed this story before heading out to see the parade.
NEDA ULABY, BYLINE: You don't have to be in New York City to get a sense of the players' jubilation over winning the World Cup this week. It's documented on their Instagram feeds.
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SAM MEWIS: We won.
ULABY: Ticker-tape parades have been a thing in New York for more than 130 years. The first one in 1886 was in honor of another powerful woman - the Statue of Liberty. Over the years, stock market confetti has rained down on aviators, astronauts, presidents and popes. Soccer blogger Jennifer Doyle is also a professor at the University of California at Riverside. She says today's parade is making her a little misty.
JENNIFER DOYLE: Just in terms of Americana and the pleasantness of a parade in a, you know, major metropolitan city - it's just great to see women athletes at the center of that kind of a tradition.
ULABY: Female athletes have been honored with ticker-tape parades in New York since at least 1926. That's when Gertrude Ederle was celebrated for being the first woman to swim the English Channel. The sound you're hearing now is from four years ago, which is the last time the U.S. women's national soccer team got a ticker-tape parade in New York, when they won the World Cup in 2015.
DOYLE: Sometimes, I think women have to say something twice, at least, before people really hear them.
ULABY: Jennifer Doyle sees other differences between 2015 and now in terms of this World Cup's cultural impact.
DOYLE: Partly because, you know, what they've accomplished in the World Cup has been amplified by much more substantial coverage of the game.
ULABY: And more substantial audiences. She says more than 19 million U.S. viewers watched at least part of Sunday's final match against the Netherlands.
DOYLE: There's that, and then there's also, of course, a lot has changed since 2015. We have a different administration. We're two years into the intensification of a #MeToo movement and of just general public awareness about the relationship between sexual harassment, sexual violence and gender discrimination.
ULABY: Yet somehow, Doyle says, this team is also eloquent, inspiring and upbeat.
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US WOMEN'S NATIONAL TEAM: (Singing) On our chest. We got four stars on our chest.
ULABY: In a country that often feels divided, Doyle says, the U.S. women's national soccer team is a vision of American unity, power and optimism. How fitting, she says, they're first in history to be feted with two parades in a row through the Canyon of Heroes. Neda Ulaby, NPR News, New York. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.