July 7, 2015 / 8:34 PM / 4 years ago

Los Angeles stages raucous rally for U.S. women's soccer team

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Two days removed from winning the women’s soccer World Cup, star midfielder Carli Lloyd teased the idea of capturing another one in 2019 as thousands of flag-waving fans cheered the U.S. team on Tuesday at a boisterous outdoor rally in Los Angeles.

Jul 7, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; General view of the United States womens national team at 2015 World Cup celebration at Microsoft Square at L.A. Live. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

While the fans who packed the downtown celebration near the Staples Center arena strained to take pictures of the team, many of the players on stage took photos and videos of the raucous crowd.

“Every day it feels great to wake up as a world champion,”

Lloyd, who scored three goals in Sunday’s 5-2 victory over Japan in the championship match in Vancouver, Canada, told the crowd. “And that feeling won’t get old. We’re going to have to bring it home four years from now, another World Cup.”

Many of the people in the crowd were dressed in red, white and blue and chanted “U-S-A, U-S-A.” Sunday’s victory gave the U.S. women their third World Cup championship and first since 1999.

Lloyd, 32, won the Golden Ball as the player of the tournament. She tallied six goals in seven World Cup matches.

“It really felt like we were playing in the U.S.,” Lloyd said. “It was unbelievable support. It’s great to be here in L.A. We look forward to traveling all over the U.S.”

Sunday’s game, which capped a month-long tournament played in six Canadian cities, was the most-watched soccer match of all time in the United States as 25.4 million Americans tuned in, world soccer body FIFA said on Tuesday.

Members of the U.S. team wore shirts at Tuesday’s rally emblazoned with the words “World Champions.”

“I want to thank my teammates, especially Carli Lloyd, for scoring all of the goals this tournament,” joked 35-year-old Abby Wambach, the 2012 FIFA Player of the Year who was a reserve for this year’s World Cup.

“I can’t tell you what it means to be a world champion, to win a World Cup, because obviously it hasn’t really sunk in. ... I can’t believe it. I am going to soak it up,” Wambach said.

New York City announced plans to host a ticker-tape parade for the team on Friday.

The parade will travel through the city’s so-called Canyon of Heroes, a cavernous route through towering skyscrapers in downtown Manhattan.

The last ticker-tape parade in the city was held for the New York Giants’ Super Bowl victory in 2012.

Additional reporting by Ellen Wulfhorst in New York, Writing by Steve Ginsburg in Washington; Editing by Will Dunham and Eric Beech

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