CHICAGO –The National Women’s Soccer League Tuesday announced that a majority woman-founded group has secured the rights to bring professional women’s soccer to Los Angeles in 2022.
The group is led by Academy Award-winning actress and activist Natalie Portman, technology venture capitalist Kara Nortman, media and gaming entrepreneur Julie Uhrman, and tech entrepreneur and venture capitalist Alexis Ohanian, who led the investment through his firm Initialized Capital.
While the team’s official name and venue partner will be announced before the end of the year, the group has formally coined itself “Angel City” in honor of its planned home in Los Angeles.
Led by Uhrman, the consortium president, the founding investor group includes Serena Williams and daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian, Jr., actors Uzo Aduba, Jessica Chastain, America Ferrera, Jennifer Garner and Eva Longoria, late night talk show host Lilly Singh, former U.S. women’s national team players Julie Foudy, Mia Hamm, Rachel Buehler, Shannon Boxx, Amanda Cromwell, Lorrie Fair Allen, Ronnie Fair Sullins, Joy Fawcett, Angela Hucles, Shannon MacMillan, Tisha Venturini Hoch and Saskia Webber, two-time Olympic gold medalist and World Cup Champions Lauren Cheney Holiday and Abby Wambach, author and activist Glennon Doyle, Netflix VP Original Content Cindy Holland, tech entrepreneur and filmmaker Casey Neistat, founding board member of Baby2Baby, Sabina Nathanson, media executive David Nathanson, Baby2Baby co-president Norah Weinstein and Bad Robot president and COO Brian Weinstein.
“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. “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 group was inspired by the U.S. capturing the 2019 Women’s World Cup crown.
“We took this as an opportunity to listen, talk to players, union reps, presidents and owners to develop a totally new playbook of how to build a professional sports team where mission and capital, entertainment and sport, were equally important,” Nortman said.
Added Portman: “Today we take an exciting step by announcing the first women majority-owned and led ownership group. 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. 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.”