Twelve years after Mia Hamm and Brandi Chastain became household names, another squad of American women led by Abby Wambach and Hope Solo are capturing the hearts and short attention spans of Americans across the country.
The success of the U.S. Women's World Cup team, which plays Japan in today's final, has overflowed into local soccer circles where semi-pro players are among those hopeful for more support.
"It's an exciting moment just because a lot of people say women's soccer isn't big, but I feel like everybody in the United States has come together and watched this World Cup," said Anessa Patton, a homegrown standout forward for the Clovis Sidekicks of the Women's Premier Soccer League. "I think it'll be big for us, especially for this league."
The WPSL is the biggest league on the West Coast, Patton said before Saturday's match against the Bay Area Breeze, and, of course, women's soccer advocates would like to see a boon in interest.
Clovis coach Erik Pottorff is optimistic that the Americans' winning ways once again can spark interest in women's soccer. The U.S. Women's World Cup win over China in 1999, after all, resulted in the formation of a new professional women's soccer league.
"We'll get excitement from the young girls," he said. "They'll have idols."
Milt Contreras, the CEO and president of the Sidekicks, isn't as optimistic. He said there has been an increase in hits on the Sidekicks' website and that interest in women's sports has grown.
Crowds have been larger at Sidekicks games, he said, though there were fewer than 150 in attendance for the Sidekicks' 3-1 loss to the Breeze at Clovis North High.
Does Contreras think the momentum will live on in the coming months?
"Well, truthfully, no," said the man who helped launch the Sidekicks so that women from the area had a team to call their own.
"Unfortunately, we're in a community just like Fresno State football, where when they're winning everybody's there. When they're not, you can find a seat and sit anywhere you want."
Also there is a generational issue, Contreras said.
"This is a baseball, football, basketball Valley," he said. "Soccer is something our parents didn't do. ... Anessa Patton, when she has her kids, that will influence them to go see matches."
For right now, though, the buzz is here, and the players are thriving off it, Pottorff said. The coach said that the U.S. team's rally from a 2-1 deficit in overtime to top favored Brazil in penalty kicks last week gave his team a boost of energy.
"It's inspiring," Sidekicks midfielder Cami Privett said. "You want to get to the point of playing on that team."
Patton played with or against a handful of the players on Team USA, some of whom play or have played for WPSL teams. She agreed it's inspirational to see those women now on soccer's largest stage.
"It's still a dream of mine to either play in the Olympics or World Cup, whether it's here in the United States or using my dad's dual citizenship and playing in France."