WASHINGTON — President Obama welcomed the World Cup-winning U.S. women’s soccer team to the White House Tuesday, saying the team’s dominance on the field “taught all America’s children that ‘playing like a girl’ means you’re a badass.”

After riotous applause and cheers, Obama continued, “Perhaps I shouldn’t have used that phrase. Playing like a girl means being the best.”

Obama routinely welcomes championship teams to the White House, but the arrival of the U.S. Women’s National Team allowed him to make a broader statement about women in society. “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.

Obama congratulated Sydney Leroux on her recent marriage and Megan Rapinoe for inspiring a cornfield maze in California. He also said the victory was the result of “Christie Rampone’s leadership, Alex Morgan’s playmaking, Heather O’Reilly’s game face. … Becky Sauerbrunn’s quiet dominance and Abby Wambach’s not-so-quiet dominance.”

But Obama’s most effusive praise was directed at midfielder Carli Lloyd, who scored three goals in the first 16 minutes of the final match against Japan.

“I had gotten my popcorn, I was all settling in. I’m thinking I’ve got a couple hours of tension and excitement — and poof, it was gone,” he said. “It was over.”

Obama noted that after her hat trick someone changed her title on Wikipedia to “President of the United States.”

“Which, by the way, the job is about to open up. What’s another candidate in the mix?” Obama said. “I guarantee you Carli knows more about being President than some of the folks who are running.”

Read or Share this story: http://usat.ly/1MgAZW7