Nation's capital honors DC United

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The Independent Online

A 10-block parade through downtown Washington honoring the three-time Major League Soccer champions, DC United, drew about 200 people on Tuesday under a steady rain.

A 10-block parade through downtown Washington honoring the three-time Major League Soccer champions, DC United, drew about 200 people on Tuesday under a steady rain.

Players shed their jerseys and cleats in favor of coats and ties for the occasion. They rode trolleys and signed autographs as fans chanted, waved flags, clapped and blew bugles along the parade route.

Mayor Anthony Williams took the stage in his characteristic bowtie and, donning a DC United scarf and hat, declared on Tuesday "DC United Day in the District of Columbia."

Williams said he is looking forward to going around the country and speaking with other mayors, especially Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan - at which point applause drowned him out. United shut out the Los Angeles Galaxy 2-0 to win the MLS finals in Foxboro, Massachusetts.

"They're the hometown team that does not know how to lose," said Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton. She said she intends to introduce a resolution when Congress returns, naming United "America's Soccer Team."

Indeed, United has played in all four league championship games, losing only last year.

"They're the home team, and I like the players," said 12-year-old Justin Salhani of Burke, Virginia. "They have skills and have what it takes to be a championship team."

Bill Pfister and his daughter, Caitlin, 12, followed the team all season. "They're probably the nicest group of professional athletes you'd ever want to meet," Pfister said. "They take the time to talk to the kids and are not asking $10 for an autograph."

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