Natalie Portman Is Bringing Women’s Pro Soccer to L.A.

Rose Minutaglio
Photo credit: Vivien Killilea - Getty Images
Photo credit: Vivien Killilea - Getty Images

From ELLE

The National Women’s Soccer League announced Tuesday that a new team is coming to Los Angeles. The WFC LA/Angel City (official team name to be revealed later this year) will make its debut in spring 2022.

The almost all-female group backing the franchise is made up of athletes, entrepreneurs, and celebrities, including Natalie Portman, who said WFC LA has "the power to make tangible change for female athletes both in our community and in the professional sphere," in a press release.

"Today we take an exciting step by announcing the first women majority-owned and led ownership group,” Portman said. “I am thrilled by the opportunity to partner with this incredible group of people to bring a professional women’s soccer team to Los Angeles. Together, we aim to build not only a winning team on the field, but also to develop a passionately loyal fan base."

The team will strive to "make a substantive impact on our community," Portman added, by "committing to extending access to sports for young people in Los Angeles" through a relationship with the LA84 Foundation, a nonprofit supporting youth sports programs created after the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.

Other women involved in the franchise include technology venture capitalist Kara Nortman and new media entrepreneur Julie Uhrman. Alexis Ohanian, who is married to Serena Williams, led the investment through his firm Initialized Capital, according to a statement.

Actresses Uzo Aduba, America Ferrera, Jennifer Garner, Eva Longoria and Lilly Singh have attached their names to the franchise, as well as former soccer players Mia Hamm, Abby Wambach and Lauren Cheney Holiday.

In a statement, NWSL commissioner Lisa Baird said that, “the growth trajectory of the NWSL is incredibly exciting, but we also need to be strategic and thoughtful about how fast we expand and the communities we partner with,” adding that the organization has “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. Those factors, along with an incredible ownership group make this an ideal situation and we couldn’t be more thrilled to move forward.”

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