A new soccer team is headed to Los Angeles, thanks to a group spearheaded by Academy Award-winning actress Natalie Portman.
The group, made up of predominantly female founders, earned the right to bring a National Women’s Soccer League team to the City of Angels in 2022.
Los Angeles is home to the second-largest sports market in the country.
So far, they are calling the team WFC LA/Angel City. They are set to reveal their official team name later this year.
It’s clearly still in the early stages of development, but the team already boasts an impressive list of supporters. The expansive investor ownership group includes a number of Hollywood, tech, venture, media, and sports stars.
Along with 39-year-old Portman, the group also includes venture capitalist Kara Nortman, OUYA founder and CEO Julie Uhrman, and lead investor and Reddit co-founder, Alexis Ohanian.
Actresses Jennifer Garner, Eva Longoria, Uzo Aduba, America Ferrera, and Lilly Singh are also part of the venture.
Plus, a collection of more than a dozen former U.S. Women’s National Team players have also invested, including Mia Hamm, Julie Foudy, Abby Wambach, and Lauren Cheney Holiday.
Alexis Ohanian also made a personal investment into the team on behalf of his wife, tennis star Serena Williams, and their daughter, Olympia — who is now likely the youngest owner in sports, at almost 3 years old.
The group established WFC LA, Inc. as a limited liability company with Uhrman listed as the CEO and president. They’re calling themselves “Angel City” as a nod to their future home.
The team will be the league’s third West Coast team, joining the Portland Thorns and OL Reign based in Washington. Another expansion team, Racing Louisville FC, from Louisville, Kentucky, will also begin play in 2021.
L.A. is already home to nine other professional sports teams. This includes two Major League Soccer teams, but the city hasn’t had a professional women’s team since 2010. That’s when the Los Angeles Sol, from the now-defunct Women’s Professional Soccer League, dissolved.
“After spending time with the USWNT players, their union rep, and getting to know some of the owners of the NWSL and the league’s supporters, it became clear having a team in L.A. could not only elevate the league and players’ exposure, but also bring these incredibly talented women to the city of L.A. — my city,” Portman told Sportico.
Additionally, the group announced a partnership with the LA84 Foundation. The foundation is a formal supporter of the Play Equity Fund, which works to support youth sport programs and advocates for access to sport within underserved communities in Southern California.