Actress Natalie Portman is leading a mostly female celebrity-backed group of investors that is bringing a women's soccer team to Los Angeles, her new team announced Tuesday. The squad will enter the National Women's Soccer League in spring 2022.
Among the others backing the team are tennis superstar Serena Williams, actresses Jessica Chastain and Eva Longoria, soccer legend Mia Hamm and many other influential women across different industries, making it the first women majority-owned and led ownership group.
"Together, we aim to build not only a winning team on the field, but also to develop a passionately loyal fan base," Portman said in a statement. "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."
The team will announce its official name and venue partner before the end of the year. For now, the group is calling itself "Angel City."
The team's founder and president, Julie Uhrman, said in a statement that the organization will work with local communities and be a supporter of the Play Equity Fund, which is committed to making sure kids across Los Angeles have access and opportunity to experience "transformational power of sport."
"We come together with a collective passion for bringing about change," Uhrman said. "Change for our players, change for our fans, and change for our community. Change that begins today."
Los Angeles has historically been a home base for the women's national team. The 1999 World Cup match between the U.S. and China featured a record crowd of more than 90,000 spectators. No women's soccer match organized by FIFA attracted more people.