Los Angeles lands NWSL expansion team for 2022 led by Natalie Portman, Serena Williams and star-studded group

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The National Women’s Soccer League on Tuesday awarded an expansion team to the city of Los Angeles. The name for the L.A.-based franchise is expected to come by the end of the year, but for now the majority woman-founded group has formally coined itself “Angel City” in honor of its planned home in Los Angeles. The new NWSL club is scheduled to play its first game in 2022.

Here’s a look at some of the notable names involved in the project:

  • Natalie Portman: Academy Award-winning actress and activist 
  • Kara Nortman: Technology venture capitalist
  • Julie Uhrman: Media and gaming entrepreneur 
  • Alexis Ohanian: Tech entrepreneur and venture capitalist   

Here’s a look at the prolific names involved in the founding investor group:

  • Serena Williams and daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian, Jr.
  • Actors Uzo Aduba, Jessica Chastain, America Ferrera, Jennifer Garner and Eva Longoria
  • Lilly Singh: Late night talk show host   
  • Former U.S. women’s national team player representing Southern California: 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 FIFA World Cup champions Lauren Cheney Holiday and Abby Wambach
  • Glennon Doyle: Author and activist 
  • Cindy Holland: Netflix VP original content 
  • Casey Neistat: Tech entrepreneur and filmmaker 
  • Sabina Nathanson: Founding board member of Baby2Baby, 
  • David Nathanson: Media executive 
  • Norah Weinstein: Baby2Baby co-president 
  • Brian Weinstein: Bad Robot president and COO  

“Today we take an exciting step by announcing the first women majority-owned and led ownership group,” Natalie Portman said in a press release. “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.”

The last top tier women’s professional soccer club in Los Angeles was the L.A. Sol of  Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS). With Tuesday’s announcement of a 2022 start date, the timeline will mark over a decade since a first division women’s professional soccer team called the state of California home. 

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