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Gotham apologizes for neglecting fans in championship celebration

Gotham FC players celebrate their 2023 NWSL Championship win over OL Reign on Nov. 11. (Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports)

Gotham FC apologized to fans on Thursday after not holding a celebration for their NWSL Championship win.

Traditionally, championship-winning teams will hold a rally or a parade in their local market in the days following the title game. Gotham FC, instead, is hosting a “trophy tour,” which included a team visit to the Empire State Building and a ceremonial ringing of the NASDAQ opening bell on Thursday.

Media, however, was not informed until around 1 a.m. the day of Thursday’s festivities.

“It’s sad,” Lynn Williams told The Messenger. “I wish we could have celebrated with our fans who have been there all year.”

“We would have loved to celebrate the fans. Fans are a huge part of why we’re here,” Yazmeen Ryan added. “It’s not ideal that it won’t be until next season. But hopefully they stick with us and know that we’re gonna have many more of these to come.”

Gotham’s supporters group, Cloud 9, expressed their disappointment in the delayed celebration, writing on X that they “deserve to celebrate NOW, as a collective fanbase, with the players that brought home that trophy.”

Gotham veteran McCall Zerboni responded to fans on X with an assurance that their complaints are being heard by the players.

In response to the public pressure, Gotham issued an apologetic statement on Thursday night.

“We extend our sincere apology and recognize you deserved the chance to celebrate our champion athletes who brought the trophy home,” the club wrote. “We pledge to use the off-season to organize celebrations that befit a championship club and match the enthusiasm of the best fans in the world.”

It isn’t the first time a team has delayed its championship celebration. The Washington Spirit didn’t hold a rally to celebrate their 2021 championship win until April 2022, despite having the support of the Washington, D.C. mayor to schedule a parade sooner.

“We don’t even know if it’s gonna be the same team,” Williams told The Messenger, with the NWSL’s free-agency signing period set to begin Monday. “So that’s a bit upsetting. But I do think if we’re not going to do it right, then we have time to plan and go forward.”