Actress Natalie Portman stands out as the head of the group of investors who will establish a women’s soccer league team in Los Angeles starting in 2022.
The team, tentatively named Angel City, will increase the number of clubs in the NWSL to 11 to 11. Louisville FC will join the current nine teams next season.
Portman and venture capitalist Kara Nortman lead the majority-owned owner group. Julie Uhrman, gaming entrepreneur, will be the president of the consortium. Actresses Eva Longoria, América Ferrera, Jennifer Garner and Uzo Aduba also participate.
Reddit businessman and co-founder Alexis Ohanian, wife of tennis star Serena Williams, is the top individual investor on behalf of his firm Initialized Capital. Portman, Nortman and Uhrman will have financial participation in the team.
“I think it is very important that children, both boys and girls, can admire women who are an example and also heroines. And this is a sport that is incredible for being a collective sport,” Portman said in an interview with The Associated Press. . “You can admire a woman’s success and be encouraged by everyone because a woman’s success represents the team’s overall success.”
The founding group includes half a dozen retired footballers, including Mia Hamm, Abby Wambach and Julie Foudy. Other businesswomen also participate.
Portman said he once listened to Wambach, a former striker for the United States national team, when he gave a speech at a “Time’s Up” event and pondered how society views women athletes. It was then that he and Nortman met with Becca Roux, the executive director of the soccer team association of the United States national team.
“We started going to games and we got excited. It was like a revolution to be able to see my son and his little friends, these 8-year-old boys then, wearing (Megan) Rapinoe shirts, Alex Morgan shirts. ‘Wow, this is could being from another world. ‘It didn’t seem unusual to them, “Portman said.
A clue to the gestation of the project transpired last year, when Portman, Gardner, Longoria and other celebrities attended a friendly of the United States team at the LAFC stadium before the World Cup in France that they ended up conquering.
The women also contacted a group of fans campaigning to have a team in Los Angeles. The plan is to continue adding investors as the team builds.
The NWSL, whose first season played in 2013, was the first professional league in the United States to resume activity amid the coronavirus pandemic, with the Challenge Cup tournament in Utah. The semifinals are played on Wednesday.
The official name of the Los Angeles club, and its stadium, should be announced later this year.