The National Women's Soccer League is struggling in its second season under tight budgets and low turnout, according to a New York Times story published yesterday.

The Portland Thorns FC won the league's inaugural championship last year and has averaged more than 13,000 fans at home games. But for the league to succeed, it needs to build a fan base that will pay to attend games and purchase swag in larger numbers across the nation, the Times reports:

Even when the thousands of female college athletes who

benefited from Title IX become ticket buyers, they often choose to spend their

money on men’s sporting events. And even when the girls... grow up,

many end up forsaking their childhood sports heroes for male superstars. It’s

almost as if they realize that their own athleticism, with all the beauty and

purity seen at its highest level, isn’t entertaining anymore.

The league has begun to implement a strategy: inspire young women athletes by hosting soccer clinics and appearing at events. The Thorns offered two soccer camps last summer to girls ages 5 to 13. This year the team will offer 11.