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Tiffany Meh / Spoon

A Historic Year for The NWSL

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

2022 was a historic season for the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL).  From attendance records being set to the historic championship game, the NWSL had one of their best seasons yet.  

San Diego Wave Set Attendance Record 

On September 17th, the San Diego Wave shattered the single-game attendance record when they sold-out their home stadium, Snapdragon Stadium, against their state rivals, Angel City FC.  There were 32,000 fans at the game.  The previous record was held by the Portland Thorns, with 25,218 fans in attendance for their game against the North Carolina Courage in 2019.  This was huge for San Diego, as it was their first season in the league. 

The Houston Dash’s First Playoff Appearance

The Houston Dash first joined the NWSL in 2014 as an expansion team.  The Dash finished fourth in the standings this season and for the first time, made the playoffs.  This was a huge accomplishment for Houston.  

Playoff Attendance Records

This postseason, the playoff attendance record was broken, with four of the most attended playoff games in NWSL history happening within the matter of a week.  The 2018 championship game between the Portland Thorns and North Carolina Courage at Providence Park had a record setting 21,144 fans in attendance.  That record was broken when the Kansas City Current beat the Houston Dash in front of 21,284 fans at PNC Stadium.  That record was broken later that night as 26,215 fans came to Snapdragon Stadium to witness the San Diego Wave beat the Chicago Red Stars.  The Portland Thorns saw 22,035 fans as they beat San Diego, and OL Reign saw 21,491 fans at their home stadium, Lumen Field, when they lost to the Current. 

The Portland Thorns Win Historic Third NWSL Championship 

For the first time in history, a team has won the NWSL Championship three times.  The Portland Thorns beat the Kansas City Current 2-0 to win their third title.  The Thorns broke more history in this game when Sophia Smith became the youngest player to score in the NWSL Championship game at 22 years old, while Olivia Moultrie became the youngest player to play in the Championship game, at just 17 years old.  

Increase in Viewers for the Championship

To top it all off, the amount of people who watched the final on T.V. grew exponentially from the year before.  According to the official NWSL Twitter account, the final saw a 71% increase in viewers, which equates to 915,000 viewers! 


Booth, Chuck. “NWSL Championship: Sophia Smith Scores Winner as Portland Thorns Blanks Kansas City Current for League Title.” CBSSports.com, CBS Sports, 30 Oct. 2022, https://www.cbssports.com/soccer/news/nwsl-championship-sophia-smith-scores-winner-portland-thorns-beat-kansas-city-current-for-league-title/live/.

NWSL . “Most Viewed Match in NWSL History .” Twitter , 1 Nov. 2022, https://twitter.com/NWSL/status/1587449315361886209?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Etweet . Accessed 3 Nov. 2022. 

“San Diego Wave Smashes NWSL Attendance Record with 32,000 Crowd vs. Angel City FC.” ESPN, ESPN Internet Ventures, 18 Sept. 2022, https://www.espn.com/soccer/united-states-nwsl/story/4747515/san-diego-wave-smashes-nwsl-attendance-record-with-32,000-crowd-vs-angel-city-fc.

Toney, Kayleigh. “The 10 Most Memorable Moments of the 2022 NWSL Season.” Girls Soccer Network, Girls Soccer Network, 31 Oct. 2022, https://girlssoccernetwork.com/the-10-most-memorable-moments-of-the-2022-nwsl-season/

Vertelney, Seth. “The Four Biggest NWSL Playoff Crowds Ever All Happened within a Week.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 24 Oct. 2022, https://prosoccerwire.usatoday.com/2022/10/24/nwsl-playoff-attendance-record-2022/

I am a sophomore majoring in Sport Management and minoring in business. I love to play and watch sports!