WWCup US Returns Home Soccer

Members of the U.S. women’s soccer team, including co-captain Megan Rapinoe, center, celebrate after a ticker-tape parade Wednesday outside City Hall in New York. The team beat the Netherlands on Sunday to capture a record fourth Women’s World Cup title. On Wednesday, crowds chanted “USA! USA!” and workers sounded air horns from a construction site as the hourlong parade moved up the famed Canyon of Heroes on lower Broadway. Story, C1

The U.S. women’s national soccer team, fresh off its World Cup championship last Sunday, is welcome in Colorado, Gov. Jared Polis said Thursday.

The governor’s invitation to the state Capitol in Denver sends a political statement about the administration’s stand on equal pay, Polis said in the statement. The women’s national team earned less than the men’s team, and Democrats have taken on what they see as a glaring inequity to promote one of their election year issues.

Democrats in Colorado, who control both chambers of the Legislature and the governor’s office, passed an equal pay law this year.

“As our country continues to celebrate this historic achievement and build momentum for your next match against Ireland, we’d like to extend an invitation for the U.S. National Team to celebrate with me at the Colorado State Capitol to commemorate this win,” states the invitation from Polis and Lt. Gov. Dianne Primavera.

“We know you don’t always accept invitations by government officials, but let us just say that in Colorado, we share your values of pay equity. That is why this year we signed the Equal Pay for Equal Work Act after years of gridlock. Coloradans know that closing the gender pay gap is fundamental for our workforce, our families and our economy.”

There was no immediate information about whether the team would accept the invitation.

Two members of the U.S. women’s national team are from Colorado. Midfielder Lindsey Horan grew up in Golden and played club soccer with Colorado Rush.

Forward Mallory Pugh is from Highlands Ranch and played for the Real Colorado club soccer team.

Polis also is among the Colorado leaders advocating to bring the 2026 FIFA Men’s World Cup to Denver.

Another Democrat, U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, introduced legislation this week to withhold federal funding for the 2026 games until both teams receive equal pay.

Some members of the team have, led by breakout star Megan Rapinoe, said they won’t accept President Trump’s invitation to the White House.

Rapinoe, who is gay, said Trump’s policies and statements are “excluding people.”

Trump has since waffled on whether the team would be invited.

The Colorado invitation comes a day after all 25 women U.S. senators invited the team to meet with the lawmakers to talk about the challenges they face off and on the field.

“Your inspiring performance on and off the field serves as an example to Americans everywhere about the value of focus, conviction, hard work and determination in our everyday lives,” states the letter dated Wednesday.

“Millions of girls and boys throughout this country continue to look up to you as athletes, as icons, and as a stirring example of what is possible when a team of remarkable, resilient, and confident American women set out to accomplish a goal.

“We believe on a bipartisan basis that your model of unity, diversity and passion should be something that is consistently celebrated and emulated.”

Rapinoe, the team co-captain, said players would accept the invitation extended Tuesday from Democratic congressional leaders, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, as well as New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Contact Joey Bunch at joey.bunch@coloradopolitics.com or follow him on Twitter @joeybunch.

Colorado Politics senior political reporter

Joey Bunch is the senior correspondent and deputy managing editor of Colorado Politics. His 32-year career includes the last 16 in Colorado. He was part of the Denver Post team that won the Pulitzer Prize in 2013 and he is a two-time finalist.

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