NWSL - Los Angeles - expansion announcement

Los Angeles awarded NWSL expansion with star-studded ownership group, eyes 2022 start

The NWSL has awarded an expansion team to Los Angeles for Spring 2022, featuring a female-majority ownership group that includes LAFC co-owner Mia Hamm as one of 14 former US women’s national team players involved in the “Angel City” project.

They’re led by Academy Award-winning actress and activist Natalie Portman, technology venture capitalist Kara Nortman, media and gaming entrepreneur Julie Uhrman, and tech entrepreneur/venture capitalist Alexis Ohanian.

“The growth trajectory of the NWSL is incredibly exciting, but we also need to be strategic and thoughtful about how fast we expand and the communities we partner with,” NWSL commissioner Lisa Baird said in a statement. “We’ve long sought the right partner in LA considering the NWSL fanbase that already exists in the region and the massive interest in women’s soccer in general. Those factors, along with an incredible ownership group, make this an ideal situation and we couldn’t be more thrilled to move forward.”

The NWSL currently has nine teams and plans to add a 10th in 2021 with Racing Louisville FC. The “Angel City” team would make it 11, and notably isn’t closely aligned with the LA Galaxy or LAFC like other teams in MLS markets are. 

NWSL expansion has followed after the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, which the USWNT won to earn back-to-back titles. The NWSL, currently in its eighth season, will wrap up the NWSL Challenge Cup on July 26.

“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,” Portman said . “Together, we aim to build not only a winning team on the field, but also to develop a passionately loyal fanbase.”

The ownership group also includes tennis star Serena Williams and actors Uzo Aduba, Jessica Chastain, America Ferrera, Jennifer Garner and Eva Longoria. The USWNT former stars include Lauren Cheney Holiday, Abby Wambach, Julie Foudy, Rachel Buehler and Shannon Boxx.