Approaching 200 games and the NWSL’s growth – Equalizer Soccer

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Saturday, nearly 40,000 fans will be filling Lumen Stadium in Seattle for the Seattle/Portland MLS and NWSL doubleheader with the Sounders and Timbers playing first, and the OL Reign and Thorns facing off shortly afterwards. With 42,000 seats available for the matches, there were already over 90% of the seats sold heading into Memorial Day weekend. This fierce rivalry is no stranger to breaking records, setting an attendance record with the first MLS/NWSL doubleheader back in 2021 having a record-breaking 27,248 fans.

The Equalizer was able to catch up with Reign captain Lauren Barnes this week to chat about her upcoming milestone of 200 regular season games (she is currently sitting at 198 and would be the first NWSL player to reach 200) and the growth of the game in her 11th seasons in the league.

“I’m just grateful to be hitting 200. There’s a lot of layers to that. Obviously, being able to stay healthy, which is great, being at a club–especially the same club–that values ​​me and believes in me is huge. It’s just really exciting to see the growth of the league. Going from my first game in 2013 to here, there’s been a lot of in between. I think that’s more important to me than the number of games I’ve hit, is that there’s been a tremendous amount of growth within the league, so that’s amazing.”

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