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METUCHEN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — It was a dream come true for several soccer teams in the Garden State.
Forty girls from the New Jersey Youth Soccer Association were invited to escort the Women’s World Cup champions on to the stage at City Hall in Manhattan on Wednesday. They received the royal treatment, riding on a float and waving to fans, CBS2’s Nina Kapur reported.
It’s not every day you get to see your heroes in person.
So when the girls found out they’d not only be attending the ticker-tape parade, but also escorting the world champs to their seats, they were over the moon.
“We started screaming because we were super excited,” said Sienna Petro of FC Copa Academy.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do that. I was ecstatic, really,” added Alexandra Faria of Millstone United Travel Soccer.
The invite came not even 24 hours before the parade. Girls from FC Copa and Millstone United jumped at the chance. Their coaches called it a well-deserved opportunity for teams that work so hard.
“I think it gives them a chance to believe and dream of being there one day and certainly they can do that,” FC Copa Academy president/director of coaching Roberto Aguas said.
The players told Kapur they absolutely idolize the American players, so being able to hold their hands and pick their brains, even for just a few minutes, was something they said they’ll never forget.
“It was incredible, just seeing the amount of people that came out to support the team and then meeting the players was just a dream come true,” Millstone United’s Melina Varouhakis said.
“I was walking with Adrianna Franch … and when I told her I played center back, she said that as a goalie she really appreciates and respects her center backs because they save her butt a lot,” FC Copa’s Audra Toth added.
And the speeches, full of inspirational messages of teamwork and equality, continue to inspire the players to work toward their goals of securing a spot on the National Team.
“One day I want to be just like them, playing the World Cup and maybe experience what they just did, my own parade,” Petro said.
“I’m very grateful that these women are there for our young ladies to look up to and encourage them to just be them,” FC Copa vice president Lori Berman said.
The young athletes practice at least two or three times a week and are top-ranked teams in the state. Their coaches said they couldn’t have thought of more deserving girls.