NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — History was made in lower Manhattan Friday as New York City honored the World Cup champion U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team.

Following an energizing ticker-tape parade, members of the US Women’s National Team were honored in front of a crowd of 3,500 people at City Hall Plaza.

PARADE EXTRAS: Parade Video | Parade Gallery | City Hall Ceremony  | City Hall Gallery

Mayor Bill de Blasio gave each member of the team a key to the city.

“You had the strength, you had the grit, you had the speed to make it to the championship,” de Blasio said. “You had the determination, the team work, the heart to become champions and examples to us all.”

As 1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reported, the drum beats pounded for the team and Olympic gold medalist Heather Mitts had the honor of introducing one of the stars:

“Carli scored the game winner in 2008, 2012 in the Olympic finals and Sunday, the fastest hat trick in World Cup History.”

South Jersey native and World Cup MVP Carli Lloyd then spoke to an adoring crowd.

http://newyork.cbslocal.com/show/cbs-new-york-videos/video-3247144-carli-lloyd-thanks-fans/

Carli Lloyd at City Hall (CBS2)

“We’ll I’m a Jersey girl, Philly fan, but New York City you guys are awesome. The World Cup was a dream come true, but having this parade here in New York City was one of the best moments of my entire life, and we all feel the same. So thank you guys for all your support.”

Web Extra: Watch Carli Lloyd’s Speech

Co-captain Abby Wambach also spoke saying this was one of the best things she’s ever been a part of in her life.

“To be a part of this ticker-tape parade …what an honor,” Wambach said. “Mayor, I can’t even thank you enough for giving us this experience. And for you guys. You guys made it even better by standing alongside the streets cheering us  on the whole way.”

Right before the ceremony, the team, along with de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo had a lunch inside City Hall that included sandwiches, salad and cake.

US Women's Soccer cake (NYC Mayor's Office)

US Women’s Soccer cake (NYC Mayor’s Office)

Earlier, throngs of young girls and other flag-waving fans of the U.S. women’s soccer team filled lower Manhattan for a ticker-tape parade celebrating the Women’s World Cup victory.

The parade-goers — many wearing red, white and blue — started gathering at 3:30 a.m. along the Canyon of Heroes, a stretch of Broadway where the nation’s largest city has honored its legends. When the parade got underway at 11 a.m., the crowd was as much as 10 deep along the route. Chants of “USA! USA!” were distinctly high-pitched.

With the sun reflecting off the World Cup trophy, the players waved and fans went crazy, CBS2’s Alice Gainer reported.

A few lucky kids were in the right place at the right time and were brought onto a float.

“They told us to come on, so we just ran on,” said the parade-goer.

Another pair of young boys threw a soccer ball up to one of their favorite players and she threw it back signed.

“We got Alex Morgan’s signature!” said the boy.

It was the first-ever ticker-tape parade in New York for a women’s sports team — a fact not lost on the crowd. A fourth-floor window on a building near the route was decorated with a homemade sign that reads “Girl Power” with four American flags.

“I’m glad to see girls getting a parade,” said 9-year-old Christinah Delesine, who wore a blue soccer shirt. “There should be more.”

Robert Sanfiz, brought his three children — Julia, 8, Chris, 7 and Tommy, 2 — to take in the spectacle.

“It’s great for her to see women finally be represented,” Sanfiz said. “It’s great for her self-esteem.”

Ireland Giaquinto, 13, held a sign reading, “Thank you for letting me dream.”

CBS2’s Diane Macedo talked to one young soccer player who was waiting to see her favorite player, goalie Hope Solo. When Solo finally passed by on a float, it was tears and screams.

All 23 players from the team — none of whom are from New York City, though four hail from nearby New Jersey — were riding on four of 12 floats. One of the floats was carrying the World Cup trophy, along with Lloyd, and de Blasio. Cuomo was on a separate float.

The players could be seen taking selfies and shooting photos of the crowd. As the parade started, goalkeeper Hope Solo tweeted: “We couldn’t be more excited be here!” with a photo of herself and five teammates.

The southern end of Broadway is the traditional spot for New York City ticker-tape parades. Most of the route is lined with tall office buildings on both sides, allowing workers to toss bits of paper onto the celebrants below.

The United States has returned to the top of the FIFA women’s rankings after winning the World Cup. The U.S. toppled Germany after beating Japan 5-2 in Sunday’s final in Vancouver to collect the top prize in women’s soccer for the first time in 16 years.

“I think it’s time for women to be honored in New York and no better team than the U.S. women’s national team,” another man told 1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck.

“What they accomplished — Carli Lloyd, three goals within, you know, 20 minutes — it’s stunning,” Katherine Salisbury told WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond.

“They’re amazing, they’re fantastic. I just love this,” one parade-goer told 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera.

“Oh just the energy, it’s such good energy,” one woman said. “And you look at everybody, they’re wearing women’s names and women’s numbers on their backs.”

“It honestly just shows that women can kick butt and win,” said another girl.

Kelly, of New Jersey, told 1010 WINS’ Roger Stern she was really inspired by the Women’s World Cup win.

“It was great for all women and soccer players across the country to experience it,” she said.

“It says a lot for women in sports today. My daughter was ecstatic, I mean, screaming, crying every day. She just loved watching every game,” said one woman.

“This was a historic moment, and they were more than worthy of the parade through the Canyon of Heroes,” de Blasio told WFAN co-hosts Kim Jones and Marc Malusis. “We wanted to really revive that tradition and honor this extraordinary team.”

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie also congratulated the team and issued the following statement:

“On July 5, the United States Women’s National Team defeated Japan’s National Team by a score of 5 – 2. This impressive win marks the third World Cup victory for the United States Women’s National Team, which is a record for World Cup play,” said Governor Christie. “This year’s championship team includes New Jersey natives Carli Lloyd, Tobin Heath, Heather O’Reilly and Christie Rampone. The spectacular achievement of these great athletes has brought a tremendous amount of pride to our State and has served as an inspiration to young female athletes from New Jersey and around the nation.”

Later tonight, the lights on One World Trade Center’s 408-foot spire will light up in red, white and blue to honor the team.

The Empire State Building’s famous tower lights will be fashionably attired in those colors as well.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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