Interest in soccer is growing in Tennessee. And in case you needed further evidence, the U.S. Women’s National Team’s visit to Nissan Stadium on Sunday showed just that.
The team’s 1-0 win over France in the first-ever SheBelieves Cup set a new record for a women’s soccer match in the state, with 25,363 fans in attendance for what was quite the spectacle.
After France made a tough go of things the entire day, it was Alex Morgan that brought the fans to their feet with her goal in the 90th minute to give the U.S. its second win in as many games in the tournament.
Jill Ellis’ team earned a 1-0 win against England in Tampa Bay earlier in the week.
Several world-class saves from goalkeeper Hope Solo – who earned her 97th career shutout with the team – kept France off the board in the first half, but the U.S. struggled to find much momentum heading into halftime.
Luckily, they would start to find better opportunities in the second half, with Mallory Pugh’s pass to set up Morgan’s 90th minute goal being the pivotal moment in the match.
Despite being 17-years-old, Pugh has continued to hold her own against some of the top competition in the world. Her pass to set up the Morgan game-winner was fantastic, and it once again showed just how bright her future is with this team.
But in a wider scope, the future of soccer in general is just as bright.
The record-breaking attendance in the state once again proves how much people are starting to follow this team and the sport.
The previous state attendance record for a women’s soccer match came in August of last year when 21,535 were on hand in Chattanooga to watch the team’s game against Costa Rica.
After the U.S was able to win the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada, it was undoubtedly a big boost of momentum for general interest in the team.
However, as we continue to see as the months go along, that interest isn’t fading.
The women’s game continues to get better. It’s not just the U.S. team that is making strides, but teams all throughout the world.
Fans at Nissan Stadium saw that in the second game of the day, as Germany rallied to defeat England 2-1 in game two.
That is without question a huge step in the right direction for the sport, and with a new FIFA president being elected, the hope is that changes will be made in order to start promoting the women’s game even more.
We’ll see more proof of that during the 2016 Olympics, as 12 teams will compete for a chance at Olympic glory.
The U.S. has already qualified for the event, and the group stage of the tournament will begin August 3 in Rio.