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Natalie Portman, Eva Longoria and More Are Bringing Women’s Soccer Team to Los Angeles: We Want to ‘Make an Impact’

Going for the gold! Natalie Portman, Eva Longoria and more celebrities have signed on to invest in a new National Women’s Soccer League team in Los Angeles.

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On Tuesday, July 21, the NWSL confirmed that a professional team dubbed Angel City is expected to join the league in the spring of 2022. The team is backed by Portman, 39, Longoria, 45, Uzo Aduba, Jessica Chastain, America Ferrera, Jennifer Garner, as well as a number of iconic female athletes, including Mia Hamm and Abby Wambach.

“Today we take an exciting step by announcing the first women majority-owned and led ownership group,” the Black Swan actress 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.”

Natalie Portman, Eva Longoria and More Bring Women Soccer Team to LA
Natalie Portman and Eva Longoria Shutterstock (2)

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,” Portman concluded.

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Among the impressive group of celebrities and sports fans working behind the scenes to make Angel City a reality is Serena Williams and her husband, Alexis Ohanian. The 37-year-old entrepreneur, who recently stepped down from his role on the Reddit board, noted that he was inspired to support the team for his daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. (The 2-year-old is also listed as a founding investor of the team.)

Abby Wambach Mia Hamm Women's Soccer Team
(L-R) Abby Wambach and Mia Hamm celebrate the United States Defeat of Norway 1-0 during Women’s World Cup Quarterfinal Match at Gillette Stadium on October 1, 2003. Cj Gunther/EPA/Shutterstock

“I am proud to be a part of this wonderful group working to bring a women’s professional football club to Los Angeles,” the Brooklyn native said in a statement to the NWSL. “As someone who spends hours kicking around a football with my 2-year-old daughter, I want her to have a front row seat to this revolution. I’m personally investing on behalf of my family because creating more opportunities in women’s sports is important to my wife and me, and we want to be a part of making a better future for our daughter.”

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News of the historic addition to the world of women’s sports comes two months after a judge dismissed the U.S. Women’s National Team’s lawsuit fighting for equal pay. The team filed the suit after they took home the win in the 2019 Women’s World Cup, arguing that they deserved to be paid the same as their male counterparts, who have performed significantly worse than the women in recent years.

“We will never stop fighting for EQUALITY,” team captain Megan Rapinoe tweeted following the May ruling.

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