The best photos from the most attended women’s soccer game in history

91,553 fans attended Barcelona's Champions League quarterfinal at Camp Nou, breaking the the record for largest attendance at a women's soccer game. 
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Barcelona FC reported that 91,553 fans attended Wednesday’s Champions League quarterfinal at Camp Nou, breaking the the record for attendance at a women’s soccer game.

Tied 1-1 at the half, Barcelona went on to defeat Real Madrid 5-2. Barcelona will move on to the semifinal round with a two-game aggregate score of 8-3.

The previous women’s soccer attendance record, 90,185, was set at the 1999 Women’s World Cup Final at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.

“I have dreamt of it since I was little. The other day I went to Camp Nou, obviously to see a match, but I also started to imagine what it will be like,” Barcelona captain and Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas told The Associated Press in a recent interview.

“I believe that this comes at just the right moment. We have been building toward this for many years and with what we have achieved, it was only a question of time. And it will also be a question of time before it becomes normal.”

Barcelona previously played a game at Camp Nou in January 2021, but with COVID-19 restrictions in place at the time, that match was closed to fans.

Here are a few of the best photos from the most attended game in women’s soccer history:

BARCELONA, SPAIN - Fans welcome the FC Barcelona team before the UEFA Women's Champions League match at Camp Nou, which went on to break the women's attendance record.
BARCELONA, SPAIN – Fans welcome the FC Barcelona team before the UEFA Women’s Champions League match at Camp Nou, which went on to break the women’s attendance record. (Photo by Joan Valls/Urbanandsport /NurPhoto via Getty Images)

 

FC Barcelona v Real Madrid: Quarter Final Second Leg - UEFA Women's Champions League
BARCELONA, SPAIN – Barcelona supporters welcome their team before the UEFA Women’s Champions League match at Camp Nou. (Photo by Joan Valls/Urbanandsport /NurPhoto via Getty Images)

 

Alexia Putellas of FC Barcelona during the world record-breaking UEFA Women's Champions League Quarterfinal against Real on March 30, 2022.
BARCELONA, SPAIN – Alexia Putellas of FC Barcelona during the world record-breaking UEFA Women’s Champions League Quarterfinal against Real on March 30, 2022. (Photo by Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)

 

Real Madrid's Olga Carmona scored the first goal of the match on a penalty shot against Barcelona goalkeeper Sandra Panos.
BARCELONA, SPAIN – Real Madrid’s Olga Carmona scored the first goal of the match on a penalty shot against Barcelona goalkeeper Sandra Panos. (Photo by Alex Caparros – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

 

Aitana Bonmati of FC Barcelona attempts to get by a Real Madrid defender.
BARCELONA, SPAIN – MARCH 30: Aitana Bonmati of FC Barcelona attempts to get by a Real Madrid defender. (Photo by Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)

 

91,553 fans attended Barcelona's Champions League quarterfinal at Camp Nou, breaking the the record for largest attendance at a women's soccer game. 
BARCELONA, SPAIN – Fans at Camp Nou celebrate after Barcelona scores its second goal of the game against Real Madrid. (Photo by Alex Caparros – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

 

Fans hold up their smartphones during Barcelona's 5-2 Champions League quarterfinal win over Real Madrid. It was the most attended women's soccer game in history
BARCELONA, SPAIN – Supporters hold up their smartphones during Barcelona’s 5-2 Champions League quarterfinal win over Real Madrid (Photo by JOSEP LAGO/AFP via Getty Images)

 

Fans at the attendance record-breaking game between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid hold up signs that spell "MORE THAN EMPOWERMENT"
BARCELONA, SPAIN – Fans at the attendance record-breaking game between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid hold up signs that spell “MORE THAN EMPOWERMENT” (Photo by Alex Caparros – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

 

 FC Barcelona coach Jonatan Giraldez (center) and Real Madrid coach Alberto Toril (left)
BARCELONA, SPAIN – FC Barcelona coach Jonatan Giraldez (center) and Real Madrid coach Alberto Toril (left). (Photo by Thiago Prudencio/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

 

FC Barcelona v Real Madrid: Quarter Final Second Leg - UEFA Women's Champions League
BARCELONA, SPAIN – Barcelona supporters celebrate during the UEFA Women’s Champions League quarterfinal between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid. (Photo by Eric Alonso/Getty Images)

 

Aitana Bonmati of FC Barcelona takes a photo with fans following her team's victory at Camp Nou in the quarterfinals of the UEFA Women's Champions League.
BARCELONA, SPAIN – Aitana Bonmati of FC Barcelona takes a photo with fans following her team’s victory at Camp Nou (Photo by Eric Alonso/Getty Images)

 

Alexia Putellas of FC Barcelona celebrates the victory with fans at Camp Nou. The game broke the record for most attended game in women's soccer history.
BARCELONA, SPAIN – Alexia Putellas of FC Barcelona celebrates the victory with fans at Camp Nou. (Photo by Alex Caparros – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

 

Barcelona celebrated the women's soccer attendance world record by displaying the number of fans - 91,553 - on an LED board at Camp Nou.
BARCELONA, SPAIN – Barcelona celebrated the women’s soccer attendance world record by displaying the number of fans – 91,553 – on an LED board at Camp Nou. (Photo by Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)

 

Fans at Camp Nou hold up signs to make the symbol that represents women (♀). The UEFA Women's Champions League quarterfinal broke the record for the most attended women's soccer game in history.
BARCELONA, SPAIN – Fans at Camp Nou hold up signs to make the symbol that represents women (♀).  (Photo by Eric Alonso/Getty Images)

RELATED: Women starred at 2022 Winter Olympics, but men photographed most of the action

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Crystal Dunn returns to USWNT roster five months after giving birth

Nigeria v USWNT
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Crystal Dunn was named to the USWNT roster for two upcoming friendlies against England and Spain, marking her first official selection since giving birth to son Marcel in May.

Dunn made her NWSL return with the Portland Thorns earlier this month and also trained with the U.S. team as a non-rostered player ahead of friendlies vs. Nigeria.

In addition to Dunn, the 24-player roster features a veteran core of Alyssa Naeher, Becky Sauerbrunn, Rose Lavelle, Lindsey Horan, Mallory Pugh, and Megan Rapinoe.

Alex Morgan was not named to the USWNT roster due to a knee injury. While U.S. head coach Vlatko Andonovski did not provide details of the injury, he noted that “if this was a World Cup final, Alex was going to be on this trip and was going to play, no question.”

Other roster highlights include 17-year-old Alyssa Thompson, who becomes the first player born in 2004 to receive a USWNT call-up. Thomas, a high senior, plays club soccer for the U-17 Total Futbol Academy boys’ team.

“We are very excited for her, very excited about her potential and qualities and looking forward to seeing how she will turn out in our environment,” Andonovski said of Thompson. “This camp is not make it or break it. It’s a first experience for her, it’s just something that she shouldn’t even worry about.”

The USWNT also includes a handful of players who have made their USWNT breakthrough this season — thanks in part to both strong NWSL play and injuries to more veteran players. That list includes the likes of Naomi Girma (7 caps), Taylor Kornieck (5 caps), Hailie Mace (5 caps), Sam Coffey (1 cap), and Savannah DeMelo (0 caps).

Andonovski on Thursday called Coffey, a midfielder for the Portland Thorns, a candidate for NWSL MVP.


USWNT Roster for October 2022 Friendlies vs. England and Spain

Goalkeepers (3):

  • Aubrey Kingsbury (Washington Spirit)
  • Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage)
  • Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars)

Defenders(7):

  • Alana Cook (OL Reign)
  • Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns FC)
  • Emily Fox (Racing Louisville FC)
  • Naomi Girma (San Diego Wave FC)
  • Sofia Huerta (OL Reign)
  • Hailie Mace (Kansas City Current)
  • Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns FC)

Midfielders (8):

  • Sam Coffey (Portland Thorns FC)
  • Savannah DeMelo (Racing Louisville FC)
  • Lindsey Horan (Olympique Lyon, FRA)
  • Taylor Kornieck (San Diego Wave FC)
  • Rose Lavelle (OL Reign)
  • Kristie Mewis (NJ/NY Gotham FC)
  • Ashley Sanchez (Washington Spirit)
  • Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit)

Forwards (6):

  • Ashley Hatch (Washington Spirit)
  • Mallory Pugh (Chicago Red Stars)
  • Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign)
  • Trinity Rodman (Washington Spirit)
  • Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns FC)
  • Alyssa Thompson (Total Futbol Academy)

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Justine Wong-Orantes’ atypical path to becoming one of the best liberos in the world

Justine Wong-Orantes hits the ball in the women's semi-final volleyball match between USA and Serbia during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
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It’s been 20 years since the same nation held both the Olympic and world volleyball titles at the same time, but libero Justine Wong-Orantes is looking to help lead Team USA accomplish that very feat at the 2022 FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championships in the Netherlands and Poland. Competition began on Friday and the U.S. is currently 2-0 after group play wins against Kazakhstan and Canada.

“We’re trying to win, for sure,” Wong-Orantes told On Her Turf. “I think, especially with the new turn of the program and the new year of the quad, we just have a really nice blend of veterans and also newcomers on the team.”

The 14-woman roster for Team USA, which is ranked No. 1 in the world and won its first Olympic title last summer, features six players from that gold-medal-winning team. And while Wong-Orantes is among the 2021 U.S. Olympic team veterans, she’s still a relative newcomer to international play.

The Southern California native enjoyed a notable junior career – she was 12 when she became the youngest female to ever earn an AAA rating in beach volleyball – and was a standout collegian at Nebraska, where she was a member of the 2015 NCAA championship team. But Wong-Orantes followed a different path upon graduation, initially choosing not to go overseas to play professionally.

While she was first selected for the U.S. national team in 2016 and played a handful of international tournaments in the following years, it wasn’t until she started playing professionally in Germany in 2019 that she saw the potential to elevate her position on the roster. In particular, the pandemic-delayed Tokyo Olympics gave her an additional year of overseas experience, which she calls “a blessing in disguise.”

“I just felt like I was still in that developmental stage,” she said. “And a whole year postponement allowed me to go overseas and really get all the touches, all the repetitions, and just kind of expose myself to international volleyball another year. So I was, in hindsight, pretty thankful for that COVID season because I got an extra year under my belt, and I think that just gave me a ton of confidence.”

Ahead of the Olympics, Wong-Orantes earned “best libero” honors at the 2021 FIVB Volleyball National League in Rimini, Italy, which helped secure her spot on the Olympic roster. In Tokyo, she followed up with another standout performance and was named best libero of the Olympic tournament.

As to how the Wong-Orantes transformed into one of the world’s top liberos, she points to her background as a beach volleyball player. She began competing at age 8, and her first partner was Sara Hughes, a star on the AVP Pro Tour who also won two NCAA titles with USC.

“I think having that background and just the court awareness that beach volleyball forces you to have allowed me to really have a good read on the game,” said Wong-Orantes. “I think that’s what makes a great libero is just reading and always being reactive towards the ball.”

Wong-Orantes also credits the assistance of mental coach Sue Enquist, a former UCLA softball coach and U.S. national team coach, who now helps teams work on their culture and relationships. Enquist began working with the U.S. volleyball team during the pandemic and has continued in her role ever since.

“We just worked on a lot of stuff within ourselves, within our program, how to communicate with each other off the court, and I think that honestly propelled us into such a high, high level with how we worked with each other, and then that transferred onto the court,” explained Wong-Orantes, who noted the team has Enquist on speed dial while at the World Championship. “I really commend Sue. I just really give a lot of praise to her because I think our culture was never bad, but I think [she] just transformed into a different level.”

2022-09-26 - FIVB Volleyball Womens World Championship 2022 - Day 4
ARNHEM, NETHERLANDS – Justine Wong-Orantes (far right) poses for a photo with her U.S. teammates after defeating Canada at the 2022 FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship on September 26, 2022. (Photo by Rene Nijhuis/Orange Pictures/BSR Agency/Getty Images)

Wong-Orantes said she and her U.S. teammates are on their toes for the world championships, which features twice as many teams (24) as the Olympics and a “more grueling” format.

“It’s going to be a long tournament, and I think we’re really going to need all 14 of us that are here. I’m pretty certain that, at any given moment, someone’s going to be called on and someone’s going to need to step up in big moments.”