There will be a new women’s football team coming to Los Angeles from 2022 and it will be owned by a group of predominantly female celebrities and business leaders, led by actress Natalie Portman.
Serena Williams and her daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., Eva Longoria, Jessica Chastain, America Ferrera and Jennifer Garner are among the big names in the 30-member investor group.
Venture capitalist Kara Nortman, gaming entrepreneur Julie Uhrman and Alexis Ohanian, Williams’ husband and co-founder of Reddit, are also major players in the group.
There are more than a dozen former football players in the founding group, including Mia Hamm, Abby Wambach and Julie Foudy.
The team, tentatively-named Angel City, will become the 11th team in the National Women’s Soccer League in the US in 2022.
“Today we take an exciting step by announcing the first women majority-owned and led ownership group,” Portman said in an NWSL 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.
Portman said she became interested in the NWSL after hearing Abby Wambach, a former US national team player, speak at a Time’s Up event. It made her think about how female athletes are regarded in society.
“We started going to games and we just got so into it. And it was just kind of a revolution to see my son and his friends, these little eight-year-old boys at the time, wanting to wear their Rapinoe jerseys, and Alex Morgan jerseys,” Portman said in an interview with the Associated Press.
“I was like ‘wow, this would be a different world’. It wasn’t unusual to them at all.”
“I think it’s so important to have role models and and heroes that are women for kids — both boys and girls — to see. And, it’s just such an incredible sport in that it really is a team sport.”
“You see one woman’s success and all the others are cheering her on because one woman’s success is the whole team’s success.”