Actress Natalie Portman, tennis star Serena Williams and her daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian are part of a majority woman-founded group that will own the newest soccer team in the United States.
The National Women’s Soccer League announced that it has awarded the Angel City group the franchise for a new Los Angeles team, which will join the league in the spring of 2022.
The investor group is led by Oscar-winning actress Portman, technology venture capitalist Kara Nortman, media and gaming entrepreneur Julie Uhrman and Alexis Ohanian, Williams’ husband and the co-founder of Reddit.
“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.
READ: Cristiano Ronaldo scores twice to set another scoring record as Juventus moves closer to Serie A title
READ: Lionel Messi claims record-breaking seventh golden boot
“Together, we aim to build not only a winning team on the field, but also to develop a passionately loyal fan base. 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.”
Other famous names involved are fellow Hollywood actors Eva Longoria, Uzo Aduba, Jennifer Garner and Jessica Chastain, along with more than a dozen former US Women’s National Team stars, including Julie Foudy, Mia Hamm, Joy Fawcett and Abby Wambach.
While a team name has yet to be decided, the Angel City group will be hoping to capitalize on the increased interest in women’s soccer since the USWNT’s successful defense of its World Cup title in 2019, with the NWSL recording an average 22% increase in stadium attendances compared to the 2018 season.
“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 in a statement.
“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 new franchise will be the 11th team to enter the NWSL and will join the already established MLS sides LA Galaxy and LAFC in LA.