If you let them, they will come.
‘They’ are fans of women’s soccer, and their attendance at England’s first ever game at Wembley Stadium was a national record for a women’s match.
The figure was 45,000 for England’s 3-0 loss to Germany, and could’ve been higher if the capacity wasn’t limited. Those numbers don’t touch the best nights in US women’s soccer history, but they are a good sign.
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More than seven years after the new Wembley opened, the England women’s team was finally allowed to follow its male counterpart by playing in the $1.2 billion national stadium.
“History makers,” proclaimed the cover of the matchday program for the 45,000 fans who defied torrential rain and transport issues – 5,000 more than the crowd that watched the England men’s team play Norway in a September friendly.
The Football Association’s marketing machine achieved its mission, with a record women’s crowd for an England game. The previous mark was just over 29,000 for a European Championship match against Finland at Manchester City’s Etihad stadium in 2005.
It could be a significant moment for the women’s game, as their attendance numbers have paled in comparison to the United States. The high attendance figure for the Women’s Super League this season was 1,292 between Chelsea and Liverpool. Their average crowd this past season was 728, which is 3700 below the NWSL’s mark.
The US women’s club record was set in 2001 between the still horribly-named Bay Area CyberRays and Washington Freedom at RFK Stadium.