The United States women’s national soccer team (USWNT) further demonstrated its popularity – and revenue-generating capability – by drawing an announced record crowd of 49,504 fans for Thursday evening’s 4-0 friendly victory against Portugal at Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field.
It was the largest attendance ever at a USWNT friendly, shattering the previous mark of 44,208 set at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh during the 2015 post-Women’s World Cup Victory Tour.
As has happened frequently at women’s soccer games in the United States following the Women’s World Cup in France – which was won by the US – the crowd broke into chants of “Equal pay” during the game.
Members of the USWNT have launched a gender discrimination lawsuit against the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) in the search for better pay and working conditions, a matter that is going to mediation after talks broke down.
Some USWNT players feel the record crowd in Philadelphia will further help their cause.
“It just shows how much support we have and how many people are willing to buy tickets,” said midfielder Sam Mewis. “If fans like this are everywhere and continue to show support and spend money on tickets and jerseys and stuff like that, I think it’s just showing our value and that’s really great.”
“We’re seeing all the support around,” added forward Carli Lloyd. “Collectively we’re all united as a group of players, we want to continue to pave the way, we want to continue to make things better for the next generation. Hopefully we can sit down with US Soccer again and figure things out.”
USSF president Carlos Cordeiro published an open letter on July 29 claiming that its women’s players were actually paid more than their male counterparts from 2010 through 2018. The women’s players branded the USSF’s calculations a “ruse”.
The USWNT has three games left on the five-game 2019 Victory Tour, continuing with another friendly against Portugal at Allianz Field in St Paul, Minnesota, on September 3.
It continues with matches against South Korea on October 3 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina, and three days later at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois.