Championship US Soccer Team Honored at Disneyland
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America's new role models, the 1999 Women's World Cup champions, were feted Sunday, July 11th, with a parade and ceremony at the Happiest Place on Earth.
The US Women's National Soccer team defeated the Chinese national team on Saturday in a tight defensive match. The game was settled in penalty kicks with a a brilliant save by Goaltender Briana Scurry and a goal from Defender Brandi Chastain.
The Rose Bowl swelled to over 90,000 fans for the superheated game. With over 40 million American TV viewers, and a billion sets tuned in world wide, the game marked a turning point in women's sports.
The team arrived early at Disneyland after a sleepless night of celebrating in Pasadena. Following some photo shoots and a quick autograph session for VIPs and their families, they assembled for a 10:15a.m. parade.
"It's a grand day for all of us, remarked Cynthia Harriss, Executive Vice-President of the Disneyland Resort, in an interview after the ceremony. "These are the kind of things I think we'll do more and more of. We're celebrating what makes America great. That is what Disneyland is such a big part of.
"I was here [at Disneyland] on Saturday. I just got a chance to watch those final moments, Ms. Harriss observed about the game. "I was thrilled and excited, as I think the rest of America was, the world actually.
Similarly excited were two local fifteen year olds, Jennifer Godoy and Katherine Tout. Both girls watched the game at home. "We were like, oh my, said Katherine. "We were on the edge of our seats.
"We're both here for the parade, added Jennifer, sporting a Yellow T-shirt with "U Goal Girl printed on the back. "It's good to see this support for the team.
Stepping off from It's a Small World, the parade carried the still energized champions down a route full of flag waving fans. Many of the flags were provided free to the guests by Disneyland.
Disneyland dancers and members of a local girl's soccer team performed around the two victor's floats. The first float carried half the team along with Pluto and Donald Duck in appropriate sports attire. The second float carried Mickey and Minnie, the rest of the team, the coach, and assistants.
Goaltender, Briana Scurry, rode high on the second float proudly raising the World Cup trophy. Mia Hamm and all the members of the team clapped to the music and waved back at the enthusiastic crowd.