A new women's soccer team is coming to play in Los Angeles in Spring 2022, according to an announcement from the National Women's Soccer League Tuesday. The new team is thanks to a majority-woman funded group led by Academy Award-winning actress Natalie Portman and Serena Williams.
"Today we take an exciting step by announcing the first women majority-owned and led ownership group,'' said Portman. "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's official name and venue partner still hasn't been announced, but those should be revealed by the end of the year. Until then, the group has named themselves "Angel City" in honor of its Los Angeles home, the league said in a statement.
“We also hope to make a substantive impact on our community, committing to extending access to sports for young people in Los Angeles through our relationship with the LA84 Foundation. Sports are such a joyful way to bring people together, and this has the power to make tangible change for female athletes both in our community and in the professional sphere.''
The investment group includes gaming entrepreneur Julie Uhrman, who acts as the consortium president. The founding investor group includes Serena Williams and her toddler daughter, Alexis; actors Uzo Aduba, Jessica Chastain, America Ferrera, Jennifer Garner, and Eva Longoria; late night talk show host Lilly Singh; former U.S. Women's National Team players Julie Foudy, Mia Hamm, Rachel Buehler, Shannon Boxx, Amanda Cromwell, Lorrie Fair Allen, Ronnie Fair Sullins, Joy Fawcett, Angela Hucles, Shannon MacMillan, Tisha Venturini Hoch, and Saskia Webber.
"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," NWSL Commissioner Lisa Baird said. “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. Those factors, along with an incredible ownership group make this an ideal situation and we couldn't be more thrilled to move forward."
The group has also formed a partnership with the LA84 Foundation, a nonprofit institution created by the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee to manage Southern California's endowment from the 1984 Olympic games. The partnership will "help us build out our community relations foundation from the very start."
"We also hope to make a substantive impact on our community, committing to extending access to sports for young people in Los Angeles through our relationship with the LA84 Foundation," Portman said. "Sports are such a joyful way to bring people together, and this has the power to make tangible change for female athletes both in our community and in the professional sphere."