Actress Natalie Portman and venture capitalist Kara Nortman lead a group that will bring an expansion National Women's Soccer League team to the Los Angeles area in 2022.
The team, tentatively named Angel City, will bring the league to 11 teams. Louisville FC will join the nine current NWSL clubs next season.
Jericho-raised Portman and Nortman are joined by gaming entrepreneur Julie Uhrman, the consortium's president in the majority-female group. Others involved include actors Eva Longoria, America Ferrera, Jennifer Garner and Uzo Aduba.
Tech entrepreneur and Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, the husband of tennis star Serena Williams, is the lead investor through his firm Initialized Capital. Portman, Nortman and Uhrman all have a financial stake in the team.
“I think it’s so important to have role models and heroes that are women for kids — both boys and girls — to see. And, it’s just such an incredible sport in that it really is a team sport,” Portman, 39, said in an interview with The Associated Press. "You see one woman’s success and all the others are cheering her on because one woman’s success is the whole team’s success.”
Among the founding group are more than a dozen former players, including Mia Hamm, Abby Wambach and Julie Foudy, as well as other female business leaders.
Portman said she heard Wambach, a former U.S. national team forward, speak at a Time's Up event and started thinking about how female athletes are regarded in society. Then she and Nortman met Becca Roux, the executive director of the U.S. Women's National Team Players Association.
“We started going to games and we just got so into it. And it was just kind of a revolution to see my son and his friends, these little 8-year-old boys at the time, wanting to wear their Rapinoe jerseys. And Alex Morgan jerseys. I was like, 'Wow, this would be a different world.′ It wasn’t unusual to them at all," Portman said.