Los Angeles Times

Staggering growth of women's soccer bodes well for World Cup in France

PARIS - When the U.S. played Norway in the semifinals of the second Women's World Cup in 1995, fewer than 3,000 people showed up at a minor league soccer stadium in Sweden to watch. And that was one of the bigger crowds of the tournament.

"To everyone outside of friends and family and the players themselves, it was like a tree falling in the woods that nobody sees or hears," said Briana Scurry, the U.S. goalkeeper said of that World Cup. "It happened. But nobody saw or heard it."

They're watching and listening now. Because where once there was indifference about women's soccer, now there's excitement.

In fact the sport has enjoyed such massive growth in recent years, when the eighth edition of the Women's World Cup kicks off Friday in Paris, the coach who won the title four years ago in Canada says it might as well be considered another game.

"It's so different than it

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