They'll join an elite group of kings, queens, astronauts, prime ministers and, yes, athletes.

But when the U.S. women's soccer team is honored with a ticker-tape parade through NYC's Canyon of Heroes (and Heroines) Friday, it'll mean even more.

Hopefully, the team will be cheered by thousands -- from tourists and local residents to young girls and boys paying homage to their new role models.

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It's gratifying to see a city that too often talks over the smallest of issues ad nauseam decide on a parade so quickly after the team's World Cup win. Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer led the effort.

Ticker-tape parades are often reserved for local heroes. 1984 U.S. Olympic medalists comprised the last national athletic group to get one. Only four parades have been held since 2000, all for local championship teams.

Veterans, astronauts and international figures, from John Glenn (twice) to Nelson Mandela, have made trips up the Canyon, too. Even Chicago Cubs star Sammy Sosa got a parade in 1998.

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In the 1950s and '60s, more frequent parades honored world leaders, and even presidential candidates John Kennedy and Richard Nixon.

The first woman to get a parade was Gertrude Ederle, who swam the English Channel. Pilot Amelia Earhart got two. The last woman honored on her own was figure skater Carol Heiss Jenkins, in 1960.

The U.S. women's team deserves the tribute, too. Sunday's 5-2 victory over Japan marked the U.S. women's third World Cup win. It's certainly a feat to celebrate.

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Ticker-tape parades cause headaches in security, traffic and cleanup, and are costly (donors will cover $450,000 of tomorrow's near-$2 million bill). But sometimes, they're just worth it. The image of those women heading up Broadway will be priceless, fueling the dreams of children cheering from the sidelines and inspiring adults searching for new heroines.

With shorter workdays for some, and no school for the kids, take some time, fill the Canyon, and applaud this team of winners.