LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Actress Natalie Portman is leading a star-studded effort to bring a professional women’s soccer team to Los Angeles.
The National Women’s Soccer League’s expansion to Los Angeles is being riding high on some major star power — including Hollywood A-listers Portman, Eva Longoria and Jennifer Garner; tech industry leaders Kara Nortman, Julie Uhrman and Alexis Ohanian; and celebrity athletes like Serena Williams, Mia Hamm and Abby Wambach. The group also has probably the youngest sports investor in the world — 2-year-old Olympia Ohanian, the daughter of Williams and Ohanian.
“Today we take an exciting step by announcing the first women majority-owned and led ownership group,” Portman said in a statement. “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 group has not yet announced a team name or logo, but they say they will release that information by the end of the year.
The time has come to reshape expectations on & off the soccer field.
— We Are Angel City (@weareangelcity) July 21, 2020
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti welcomed the news, and said they would be making their home in “the best sports town in America.”
“When they take the field in 2022, a generation of young girls and women from our community will be able to see themselves playing at the highest level of their sport,” Garcetti said in a statement. “I can’t wait to put on my jersey and cheer on our newest team as they write their chapter in L.A.’s long history of sports excellence.”
The group has also partnered with the LA84 Foundation, which was formed by the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee, to establish strong community ties before the team even gets on the field.
The National Women’s Soccer League currently has nine teams, and Los Angeles would be a natural place for women’s soccer to find a foothold. One of the most iconic moments of women’s soccer happened at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena in 1999, when Brandi Chastain tore off her jersey and, in her sports bra, fell to her knees with a roar after scoring the winning kick at the FIFA Women’s World Cup Final.
Los Angeles is already home to nine other professional sports teams, including two Major League Soccer teams, the LA Galaxy and Los Angeles FC. The City of Angels’ last professional women’s soccer team was the Los Angeles Sol, but it was part of the now-defunct Women’s Professional Soccer League.