August 10th, 2012
07:21 PM ET

How long for women's soccer's latest honeymoon?

Thursday was another banner moment for U.S. women's soccer: A fourth gold medal in five Olympics; waves of fans tweeting their delight at Team USA defeating Japan 2-1; an Olympic women's soccer record 80,203 people, many of them waving U.S. flags, watching at London's Wembley Stadium.

"It's a dream come true," Atlanta resident Lauren Becker, 29, told the Baltimore Sun about seeing the match at Wembley. "I feel like I won gold just being here."

Still unknown, though, is how this kind of euphoria from the world stage will translate into long-term support at home, where yet another women's professional soccer league apparently is in the works.

The Boston Breakers, a survivor of the recently disbanded Women's Professional Soccer league, said that it and three other former WPS teams intend to create a league starting in 2013.

“All these teams are committed to playing with and against each other starting in 2013 and to working out the final details to allow a sustainable professional league for women’s soccer in the U.S.,” said Michael Stoller, the Breakers' managing partner.

Sustaining women's soccer leagues hasn't been easy. The WPS folded this year after just three seasons following an expensive legal dispute with a former franchise owner.

iReport.com: Team USA celebrates at Wembley

A predecessor, the WUSA, also went just three seasons. That league launched after the U.S. women won the 1999 World Cup on home soil, dramatically clinching the title in a penalty shootout with China in a match that still holds the U.S. soccer TV viewership record, with more than 18 million viewers.

The U.S. women's head coach wants to see a sustainable stateside league. The lack of one made it hard to prepare for the Olympics, with some team members not having regular club matches to stay sharp, Pia Sundhage told reporters Wednesday, according to Bloomberg.

NBC Sports Network discussed the possibility of a new league during its coverage of the gold medal match Thursday. USA Today later asked one of the network's game analysts, 1999 World Cup winner Brandi Chastain, whether we'd see a stateside women's league that would last.

"God, I hope," Chastain told USA Today. "There's no reason it shouldn't be."

London 2012: The women's Olympics?

Former U.S. soccer star Mia Hamm told ESPN she didn't think such a sustainable league would happen anytime soon.

"I’m still trying to understand why we can’t keep them alive," Hamm told ESPN. "I wish there was a solution. The players want it. The environment is right. (I’d) love to see something come back. But in the near future, I don’t think it’s going to happen.”

Thursday's victory caught plenty of people's attention, even though the game happened during work hours in the United States and sleeping hours in Japan. At the end of the match, tweets related to the game hit a rate of 33,000 per minute - short of the rates for Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt's victories in the 100 meters and 200 meters, but still one of the highest rates for any event in the Olympics, according to Twitter.

Actor Samuel L. Jackson (who has been tweeting a lot about these Olympics), "Saturday Night Live's" Seth Meyers, actress Gabrielle Union and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice got in on the act.

The team's Olympic run had plenty for sports fans to love, including a comeback, extra-time semifinal victory against neighboring Canada and a gold-medal match that offered the Americans revenge for their 2011 World Cup penalty shootout loss to Japan.

But whether there will be enough interest to sustain a new women's soccer league between now and the next major women's soccer event, the 2015 World Cup, is yet to be seen.

SI.com: U.S. women’s fourth gold medal a team effort in the truest sense

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Filed under: Olympics
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. banasy©

    How long will this honeymoon last?
    As long as they keep winning.
    Soccer is cool, and I hope interest keeps building...

    August 10, 2012 at 8:59 pm | Report abuse |
  2. joersal

    who cares ... women's soccer is about as exciting as the wnba

    August 10, 2012 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Which is actually just as exiting as men's soccer and the NBA...lol.

      August 10, 2012 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
  3. adrifter

    Seems no criticism of the tournament is allowed. Wow.

    August 10, 2012 at 9:48 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Kou

    Funny you report of all the cheers there was on twitter but no mention of the racist America showed during that time. It was so severe it actually TRENDED on twitter. American's being RACIST was one of the top TRENDS that day. That's how disgusting this country can be. Especially since we won...

    August 12, 2012 at 2:54 am | Report abuse |
  5. noworries

    Too bad the men's soccer team sucks!!!! Not enough money in the sport to get the best athletes in the US

    August 12, 2012 at 6:41 am | Report abuse |