President Barack Obama welcomed the U.S. women’s 2015 World Cup champion soccer team to the White House Tuesday, saying the team’s victory with class, excitement and style inspired the whole country.
“They’ve inspired millions of girls to dream bigger and, by the way, inspired millions of boys to look at girls differently, which is just as important,” Obama said.
The U.S. defeated Japan 5-2 during the final to collect the top prize in women’s soccer for the first time in 16 years. Obama said his youngest daughter Sasha was able to cheer on the team when she attended the game with Vice President Joe Biden and his granddaughter Maisy.
“This team taught all America’s children that playing like a girl means you’re a bad ass,” Obama said, to applause in the White House East Room. “Perhaps I shouldn’t have used that phrase. Playing like a girl means being the best.”
Obama singled out midfielder Carli Lloyd, who was named the tournament’s most valuable player after scoring three goals in the final. He noted that Lloyd’s title on Wikipedia was jokingly changed during the game to president of the United States, a job Obama said “is about to open up.”
“What’s another candidate in the mix,” Obama said. Dinging the 2016 Republican presidential field, he added, “I guarantee Carli knows more about being president than some of the folks running.”
Obama also lauded the team for launching the “She Believes” initiative to encourage young fans to believe in themselves. The team presented Obama with a soccer jersey that included his name and the number 44 on the back, before taking a selfie with the president.