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USWNT’s Julie Ertz on record-breaking crowd in Philly: ‘A moment I dreamed of’

The USWNT’s victory tour has delivered another big milestone.

PHILADELPHIA — The U.S. women’s national team has set a new attendance record. The crowd Thursday night at Lincoln Financial Field for the USWNT’s ongoing victory tour shattered a stand-alone attendance record for a friendly in the United States. 

“Holy cow, that was awesome,” U.S. coach Jill Ellis said of the crowd afterward.

The announced attendance of 49,504 broke the previous mark of 44,208 set at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh during the 2015 victory tour. 

“It was really cool. I can’t put it into words really,” USWNT midfielder Julie Ertz said. “It was one of the coolest experiences I had. Obviously, this is a victory tour to celebrate the amazing summer and, to have that amount of fans there, the noise, I was super excited. It’s great also to win. I’m really excited to tell (husband and Philadelphia Eagles tight end) Zach (Ertz) all about it.”

Though it was the largest crowd the USWNT has played in front of for a friendly, and the largest U.S.-based crowd since 1999, the players kept to business as usual.

“I think once the game gets on, you kind of zone in and I definitely did that,” Ertz said. “I think in the second half, I was further in the back, so I got to see more of the field and soak it in. I think I was the last person on our team to look at everything because this is a moment I dreamed of. I didn’t know if we’d be able to play here so it’s really special.”

The only other USWNT matches on U.S. soil with larger crowds were non-friendlies: six games during the 1999 Women’s World Cup and two games the 1996 Olympics.

“Just to see the growth has been amazing,” Ellis said. “In terms of just my tenure to see the fans and the growth in terms of numbers and the popularity of the sport and this team. It’s great to be a part of.”

“I think it speaks volumes about our sport,” Ellis said. “I think the World Cup is just such a world showcase event that people get on board. This is an exciting team with great personalities. Ultimately, what does a fan want? Entertainment. And that’s what they get with this group.” 

Thursday’s friendly is the first game of its type to reach the 45,000 mark, far surpassing the 37,040 fans that attended the victory tour opener at the Rose Bowl earlier this month. 

The USWNT has three games left on the victory tour, which celebrates their 2019 Women’s World Cup victory, with the next one coming versus Portugal Tuesday at Allianz Field in Saint Paul, Minnesota.  After that, the USWNT will close out the tour with a pair of games against South Korea in October.

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