The NWSL is headed to the semifinals of its Challenge Cup on Wednesday, as the league has thus far successfully pulled off its bubble tournament restart as the first team sports league in the United States to attempt to restart during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The tournament has showcased the league and the immensely talented women that play in it over the past month, as nine of the 10 teams in the league took part in the tournament — the Orlando Pride did not make the trip due to an outbreak on the team. On Tuesday, the league announced some major news in the form of an expansion franchise coming to Los Angeles, currently dubbed “Angel City” — which is, objectively, a tremendous name and hopefully sticks.
The ownership group for the franchise is a who’s who of prominent women from sports, entertainment, and business, led by actress Natalie Portman, venture capitalist Kara Nortman, and entrepreneur Julie Uhrman (who will serve as team president), along with Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, who led the bid through his firm. The other stakeholders feature a tremendous amount of star power and sports know-how, including tennis legend Serena Williams (who is married to Ohanian) and 14 former members of the USWNT.
Led by consortium President Julie Uhrman, 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 US Women’s National Team players including twelve representing Southern California including 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, 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.
It is quite the list of names and they will look to capitalize on L.A.’s soccer boom, as LAFC and the LA Galaxy have one of the MLS’ best young rivalries, with LAFC having a similarly stacked ownership group. The team will join the league officially in the 2022 season, and more details like an official name and logo are still to come. For soccer fans in Southern California, it’s very exciting news as the NWSL finally brings a squad to Los Angeles and has the backing of some of the biggest names in the sport.