The U.S. won the Women's World Cup in Canada, and the momentum has carried to the box office as many players return to their professional clubs in the National Women's Soccer League.

Houston, in particular, is poised to see an explosion in fan interest. An average of 4,500 fans go to see the Houston Dash play. But the Dash -- whose national team players include Morgan Brian, Lauren Klingenberg and newly minted American hero Carli Lloyd -- are expecting about 15,000 fans for this weekend's game against Chicago.

That would be a record for the club. And that's far from the only club enjoying the momentum of the 2015 World Cup. Seattle is expecting attendance around 5,500 for its next game, up from its typical 3,000.

In Portland, where the Thorns lead the NWSL with average attendance of about 13,000 , the team's owner believes the next home match will be a sellout crowd of 21,000 -- the largest mark in NWSL history.

And that Portland game? It's on a Wednesday night.

Even better, the sales are extending beyond the next match, which serves as a homecoming for national team players.

"[Fans are] buying three packs, buying it in droves," Seattle Reign marketing director Brandon Kolp told USA Today. "We anticipated to see a spike for people wanting to see [the players] right after they came back, but we're seeing [more sales]."

That's obviously great news for the NWSL, and for women's soccer in general. Whether those teams can maintain that momentum far into the future is another question. The NWSL is the fourth professional women's league to give it a try in the United States, and its three predecessors failed to stick.

Even more surprising, the WUSA, which debuted in 2001 on the heels of America's 1999 World Cup victory, actually saw significantly higher attendance than the NWSL.

The WUSA had an average of 8,000 fans in its first season. The NWSL in 2014 managed barely half that, with 4,100 fans attending the average match.

The WUSA, meanwhile, saw declining attendance in 2002 and 2003 before folding after three professional seasons.

The NWSL needs an opposite trend: They need to continue building attendance to a point where the league can remain viable for years to come, and that means using the current World Cup momentum to entrench soccer enthusiasts as long-term fans.

The NWSL club owners are well aware that fan interest may fade after the buzz of the World Cup wears off. But Portland Thorns owner Merritt Paulson sees other reasons to be optimistic -- and those encouraging signs weren't present during the days of the WUSA.

"It's a different scenario this time around in the NWSL with first of all, the (TV) numbers in the World Cup were staggering at an entirely different level," Paulson told USA Today. "And more so it's not just about people tuning in for an event and seeing a U.S. victory. It's a soccer nation understanding the game in a way they haven't before.

"Ultimately, the onus is on the clubs and leagues to provide a great fan experience so people want to come back and it's not just a curiosity to see the players you've been watching in Canada."

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