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NWSL, FAWSL get World Cup attendance bumps

Getty Images

Getty Images

The expected bump in attention for the National Women’s Soccer League thanks to the United States’ 2015 Women’s World Cup triumph was in full effect this weekend.

On Sunday, the Houston Dash drew a club record 13,025 fans (and ultimately, U.S. players Carli Lloyd, Meghan Klingenberg and Morgan Brian did not play). Seattle brought in 5,778 fans, nearly selling out the one side of Memorial Stadium for which the Reign sell tickets. And Sky Blue FC — err grew? — attracted 3,014 fans, which is an increase for the New Jersey club.

And a record crowd is expected in Portland next week for the Pacific Northwest derby, which could attract up to 21,000 fans to Providence Park.

But not to be forgotten is England, the surprise third-place finisher at the World Cup which won over hearts worldwide after a heartbreaking loss in the semifinals on a stoppage-time goal which Laura Bassett put into her own net.

Players returned to their club teams (national team players did participate in the matches) in the FAWSL on Sunday. The attendance numbers in England are more humbling, but the fans still turned out in record numbers on Sunday in a country where, in a similar fashion as the U.S., there is a hope that World Cup success will lead to more sustained interest in the women’s game.

A club-record crowd of 2,102 fans turned up in Manchester to watch Manchester city defeat Birmingham City, 1-0. There were 2,061 fans in London for Liverpool’s 3-1 victory over Arsenal, more than doubling Arsenal’s previous home crowd.

Meanwhile, over 1,200 fans saw Chelsea beat Bristol and almost 1,000 turned up for Sunderland-Notts.

Those numbers are nowhere near those of the peak NWSL attendances, but the percentages by which crowds have increased in England bring encouragement.

Oh, and the fans in London got treated to quite a game, too. Check out the goals from the Liverpool-Arsenal meeting:


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