NEW YORK — When Carli Lloyd’s turn came to address the thousands of fans at the U.S. women’s soccer team’s World Cup celebration Wednesday morning, she offered a confession.
“I feel like the old granny a little bit, because I’m always telling them to turn the music down,” she said of the teammates seated behind her.
But that didn’t get in the way of the Americans’ rock-solid chemistry. Nor did anything or anyone else as the team worked its way to a fourth World Cup title.
“I’ve got 22 of the best — bestest — friends right behind me,” she said. “Everybody played a role, and it was just incredible to see so many different players step up … Every match we needed somebody to kind of lift us, and it’s a testament to this group."
The triumph was also earned by the team’s vast behind-the-scenes staff, and Lloyd made a point of saluting them.
“Thank you to U.S. Soccer,” she said, mentioning president Carlos Cordeiro by name. “Our support staff over there, you guys worked tirelessly. We changed nine different hotels throughout our journey in the World Cup. They don’t get the credit they deserve.”
When Lloyd stood on the same podium after the U.S. won the 2015 World Cup, she was the team’s biggest star. She’s still one of the team’s co-captains, but she plays as a substitute now. She acknowledged during the World Cup that it was to be her last one, and after the final admitted that she has some reflecting to do about her future.
Still, her joy about winning a championship was as strong as ever after winning the fourth major trophy of her career.
“We were obviously here four years ago. It never gets old,” Lloyd said. "These parades are amazing. You fans are amazing.
Lloyd thanked the local fans for filling Manhattan’s famed Canyon of Heroes on Broadway. But of course, the Delran native made sure to remind them of where she’s from.
"I'm a Jersey girl through and through, but New York, it's just as close, even though I'm an Eagles fan down in Philly," she said. "Fly, Eagles, fly!"
That drew more outright boos than the hecklers gave Cordeiro when he addressed the women’s team’s gender discrimination lawsuit. Julie Ertz stepped in to give Lloyd some backup.
Alex Morgan was next up. The team’s top striker kept her remarks short, but brought plenty of zing.
“I’m loving the enthusiasm — it’s not even noon yet,” she said. “I also want to say thank you for your chants, your signs and your posters. We appreciate it. Keep it going.”
She added: "The USA chants, I meant." The crowd suspected she didn't, and might have been right.
Morgan finished with her own allusion to the NFL.
"We have been known as America's favorite soccer team," she said. "But from here on out, we'll just be known as America's team."
Megan Rapinoe spoke last. Though she joked about being "at a loss for words," she said "I'll find them," and to no one's surprise, she did.
“This group is so resilient, is so tough, has such a sense of humor. It’s just so badass,” she said. “There’s nothing that can faze this group. We’re chilling. We’ve got tea-sipping. We’ve got celebrations. We have pink hair and purple hair. We have tattoos and dreadlocks. We’ve got white girls and black girls and everything in between. Straight girls and gay girls — hey!”
“I couldn’t be more proud to be a co-captain with Carli and Alex,” Rapinoe said. “It is my absolute honor to lead this team out on the field. There’s no other place that I would rather be — even in the presidential race.”
Just in case President Trump was watching, Rapinoe all but finished the question of whether she'd bring the team to the White House.
"I'm busy," she said. "I'm sorry."
Within the soccer world, Rapinoe’s defense of Cordeiro drew the most attention. She put those remarks and the rest of her speech in a broader context.
“We have to love more, hate less. We’ve got to listen more and talk less. We’ve got to know that this is everybody’s responsibility,” she said. “It’s our responsibility to make this world a better place. I think this team does an incredible job of taking that on our shoulders and understanding the position that we have and the platform that we have within this world.”