NWSL Confirms New LA Club Backed by Natalie Portman, Serena Williams & More

2020 NWSL Challenge Cup - Quarterfinals
NWSL has granted expansion place to new 'Angel City' club in LA | Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The NWSL has confirmed it has granted expansion team rights to a new professional women’s soccer club in Los Angeles. The new team will join the league ready to compete in the 2022 season and will be the first from the state of California.

The new club does not yet have an official name but has been formally dubbed ‘Angel City’ by the group behind it, which is led by Natalie Portman, Kara Nortman, Julie Uhrman and Alexis Ohanian. The latter is co-founder of Reddit and led the investment through his firm Initialized Capital.

The investor group also includes a number of other famous faces from the world of sport and entertainment, with Serena Williams, Uzo Aduba, Jessica Chastain, America Ferrera, Jennifer Garner and Eva Longoria involved, as well as numerous USWNT legends like Julie Foudy, Mia Hamm, Shannon Boxx, Joy Fawcett, Tisha Venturini-Hoch, Lauren Holiday and Abby Wambach.

The birth of the new club is a direct response to fan-driven demand with an NWSL team in LA following the performance of the USWNT at the 2019 Women’s World Cup.

“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,” NWSL commissioner Lisa Baird said in response to the news.

Hollywood star Natalie Portman is among the famous investors in the new 'Angel City' franchise
Hollywood star Natalie Portman is among the famous investors in the new 'Angel City' franchise | Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images

LA’s last top flight professional women’s soccer team was Los Angeles Sol, who were part of the former WPS league that folded in 2012 prior to the birth of NWSL.

The new ’Angel City’ club will be the 11th team in NWSL by the time 2022 comes around. It will follow Racing Louisville into the league, with the Kentucky-based side joining in 2021.

The existing nine NWSL clubs – Orlando Pride, North Carolina Courage, Washington Spirit, Sky Blue, Chicago Red Stars, Houston Dash, Utah Royals, Portland Thorns and OL Reign - are currently spread all over the United States from Florida to the Pacific North West.

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