Natalie Portman takes women’s soccer to LA
The actress and activist leads the group of successful women investors that are taking the new National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) franchise to Los Angeles in 2022.
On July 21, National Women’s Soccer League announced a league expansion that will incorporate two new franchises into its group of nine current teams.
Louisville FC will join next season and a team in Los Angeles will start playing in 2022 with the support of a host of women investors led by actress and activist, Natalie Portman.
Southern California is a region that holds a great soccer fanbase.
Los Angeles currently houses two professional teams competing in the Major League Soccer (MLS), Los Angeles FC and LA Galaxy, two of the most important teams in the men’s league.
The city seems like an ideal place to help promote the popularity of women’s soccer and continue NWSL expansion, which has been full of success since its foundation back in 2013.
“We’ve long sought the right partner in LA considering the NWSL fanbase that already exists in the region and the massive interest in women’s soccer in general,” said NWSL Commissioner Lisa Baird in a statement last Tuesday.
— We Are Angel City (@weareangelcity) July 21, 2020
For now, Angel City is the name of the team until an official one is decided, as well as a place where the team will play its home games.
Both are planned to be announced later this year.
Among the group of 30 founders investing in the team and taking women's soccer to Los Angeles along with Portman are fellow actresses Jennifer Garner, America Ferrera, Uzo Aduba and Jessica Chastain.
Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian (tennis player Serena Williams' spouse) is one of the few men included in the project. Together with Portman, venture capitalist Kara Nortman and gaming entrepreneur, Julie Urhrman, he is one of the top investors.
“Each of us has our special ability to bring to the team,” said Portman after explaining that the idea to create the project and bring women’s soccer to a city like Los Angeles started after witnessing the euphoria generated by the U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT) winning the World Cup last summer.
Former USWNT players such as Mia Hamm, Abby Wambach and Julie Fodie are also included among the names of successful business women involved in the project.
“By bringing together this unique group of people, we actually have this ability to engage and promote and not only support the best players, but also grow the league by putting a spotlight on it and hopefully igniting a fire here that will touch other places,” said entrepreneur Julie Uhrman.
Angel City is now one of the few majority-women ownership groups that exist today in professional sports.
The project aims for equality in a sport that has long been considered only for men, yet in the United States it has been more successful in the women's pitch.