Natalie Portman’s vision for women’s soccer takes flight with Los Angeles’ Angel City Football Club
When Oscar-winner Natalie Portman had a wild dream to start a professional women’s soccer team in Los Angeles, the stars aligned in her favor.
Alongside a list of award-winning Hollywood heavyweights, Portman co-founded the Angel City Football Club, which has now entered its second season in the National Women’s Soccer League. The team has been drawing sellout crowds and creating a vibrant atmosphere at L.A.’s BMO Stadium.
At the forefront of the Angel City Football Club is Natalie Portman herself, actively involved as a co-founder and leading supporter. In a new docuseries, “Angel City,” on HBO Max, the launch of the women’s pro team, the first to be founded and led by women, is chronicled.
“Angel City” showcases the launch of the team and the journey of its founders. The series highlights the resilience and determination of those like Portman who created a platform for women’s soccer in Los Angeles.
Now, in the City of Angels, their message of girl power is resonating.
“Everything is just so positive and exuberant and just joyful,” Portman said.
Portman’s inspiration to create the team came in part from her son’s enthusiasm for women’s World Cup soccer. Seeing the impact and greatness displayed by female athletes, she felt compelled to contribute to the cultural change surrounding women in sports.
“It’s important to me that, when I see in the stadium all these children, all genders, looking up to our female athletes, it just feels like culture change,” Portman said.
She said she wasn’t event that into sports, but was inspired by what soccer players were doing.
Portman’s co-founders, including entrepreneur Julie Uhrman and venture capitalist Kara Nortman, initially believed Portman was joking when she proposed starting a women’s soccer team. But eventually, through Zoom meetings during the pandemic, they formulated better working conditions for their athletes, including training for post-playing careers.
Portman and her co-founders have their sights set on more than just revolutionizing women’s soccer; they aim to change the landscape of women’s sports forever. Angel City’s players receive a share of ticket sales, marking a groundbreaking milestone in women’s sports.
Angel City Football Club has attracted attention not only for its on-field endeavors, but also for its illustrious investors. Hollywood icons like Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney have also made their own foray into soccer. Additionally, the Emmy-winning comedy series “Ted Lasso” has contributed to the soccer frenzy in Hollywood.
The convergence of these ventures with Angel City’s rise showcases the growing popularity of the sport.
“It was just good timing because we were already, like, on the road when those things came out,” Portman said. “It does feel like such incredible synergy.”