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Serena Williams and her daughter join Natalie Portman in ownership of women’s football team

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A new women’s football team is coming to Los Angeles, and it will have some pretty big names running the show from the top.

Key points:
-A group of women including Natalie Portman, Serena Williams, Jessica Chastain and Eva Longoria have led a bid for a women’s football team in LA

Portman said the birth of the team had the “power to make tangible change for female athletes”

The plan is to bring on additional investors as the team takes shape

The National Women’s Soccer League has confirmed the tentatively-named Angel City will begin competing in the national competition from 2022 after a “majority woman-founded group” secured the exclusive rights to bring a franchise to LA.

That group contains tennis star Serena Williams — and her two-year-old daughter Olympia — actors Natalie Portman, Jessica Chastain, Jennifer Garner and Eva Longoria, tech entrepreneurs Julie Uhrman and Alexis Ohanain and a number of current and former US women’s team players.

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

“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.

“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.”

Serena Williams and her daughter Olympia in 2018.(Instagram: Serena Williams)

Serena Williams and her daughter Olympia in 2018.(Instagram: Serena Williams)

Speaking to AP, Portman said she heard Abby Wambach, a former US national team player, speak at a Time’s Up event and started thinking about how female athletes are regarded in society.

Then she and venture capitalist Kara Nortman met Becca Roux, the executive director of the US 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 eight-year-old boys at the time, wanting to wear their Rapinoe jerseys, and Alex Morgan jerseys,” Portman said.

“I was like ‘wow, this would be a different world’. It wasn’t unusual to them at all.”

Natalie Portman says she hopes the team can produce role models for young girls and boys.(AP: Jordan Strauss)

Natalie Portman says she hopes the team can produce role models for young girls and boys.(AP: Jordan Strauss)

There were hints that the group was coming together last year when Portman, Garner, Longoria and other celebrities went to a national team exhibition game at LAFC’s stadium before the World Cup.

The women also reached out to a local supporters group that has been campaigning to bring a team to Los Angeles. The plan is to bring on additional investors as the team takes shape.

“I think it’s so important to have role models and heroes that are women for kids — both boys and girls — to see,” Portman said.

“It’s just such an incredible sport in that it really is a team sport. 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.”

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