Talk about girl power! Natalie Portman, Eva Longoria and more celebrities have signed on to invest in a new National Women’s Soccer League team in Los Angeles.
On Tuesday, the National Women’s Soccer League awarded a group led by the 39-year-old actress the rights to form a franchise in Los Angeles, home to the second-largest sports market in the country. While the team — set reveal its name later this year, but is currently referred to as WFC LA/Angel City — is still in the early stages of development, there’s already an impressive list of names attached.
Along with Natalie , the group of majority women founders includes venture capitalist Kara Nortman, OUYA founder Julie Uhrman, lead investor and Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, and actresses Uzo Aduba, America Ferrera, Jennifer Garner, Eva Longoria and Lilly Singh. Among others, a collection of more than a dozen former women’s soccer players have also invested, including Mia Hamm, Abby Wambach and Lauren Cheney Holiday.
“Today we take an exciting step by announcing the women majority-owned and led ownership group,” Natalie said in a statement shared by the NWSL on Tuesday. “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.”
LA84 focuses on making youth sport programs and public education widely available for all. “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” Natalie concluded.
That’s one of the reasons why Natalie and the team’s founders feel building a new franchise is so important — to inspire Los Angeles area youth with a team of female soccer heroes to call their own, and celebrate them they way they deserve to be.
“[We want to] expand those sports heroes — and those sports modeling behaviors — to have women in those positions, too,” Natalie says. “To celebrate women at the same level as the way we celebrate male athletes is culture-shifting.”