June 11, 2019 / 7:33 PM / 8 days ago

American politicians, athletes offer support to women's World Cup team

NEW YORK (Reuters) - As the U.S. women’s national team prepared to kick off their World Cup title defence, prominent figures from American politics, sports and even outer space flocked to social media on Tuesday to lend their support.

Soccer Football - Women's World Cup - Group F - United States v Thailand - Stade Auguste-Delaune, Reims, France - June 11, 2019 U.S. players pose for a team group photo before the match REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

The U.S. face Thailand on Tuesday, before playing Chile and Sweden in their remaining Group F fixtures.

“The @USWNT is something to smile about. It was great to celebrate with them back in 2015 and I’m excited to root them on in their drive to earn their fourth star,” wrote former U.S. President Barack Obama (@BarackObama) in a Twitter post accompanied by a photo of him with the 2015 World Cup-winning squad.

Democratic 2020 presidential candidates, including former Vice President Joe Biden and senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Kamala Harris, also lent their support in social media posts ahead of the U.S. team’s first match.

“Good luck to the @USWNT as they kick off their first game of the Women’s World Cup... We have no doubt you’ll make our country proud, “ Biden wrote on Twitter.

In a video posted to Twitter, leading Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer highlighted the team’s lawsuit against the national federation alleging gender discrimination, with a message advocating a pay equity bill.

“We shouldn’t say to generations of girls who look up to these talented stars that women’s sports is in any way less than,” wrote Schumer (@SenSchumer).

Billie Jean King, who famously championed equal pay in tennis, was among the most prominent sports figures cheering the U.S. squad.

“You have the support of a nation behind you. Get that win, and then get the equal pay you deserve!” King tweeted (@BillieJeanKing).

Well over a dozen teams across the four main men’s American sport leagues tweeted their support as well.

“Wishing our friends @USWNT luck as they begin their quest on the pitch at @FIFAWWC!” tweeted the reigning Stanley Cup title-holders, the Washington Capitals (@Capitals).

Zach Ertz, the husband of midfielder Julie Ertz and an NFL tight end, appeared alongside his team mates in a video that was posted on the Philadelphia Eagles’ (@Eagles) Twitter account.

“Best of luck in France, I’ll see you guys over there. Go USA!” said Ertz.

Elsewhere in the galaxy, American astronaut Anne McClain, lent support to her compatriots back on Earth.

“Finally made it to a @FIFAWWC in person!” McClain wrote on Twitter (@AstroAnnimal), in a post accompanied by a photo of Earth from space. “We are watching and cheering on the @USWNT from @Space_Station – go #USA!”

Reporting by Amy Tennery; Editing by Toby Davis

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