When Oscar winner Natalie Portman dreamed of starting a professional women’s soccer team in Los Angeles, the stars aligned in her favor.
Along with a list of award-winning Hollywood heavyweights, Portman co-founded the Angel City Soccer Club, which is entering its second season in the National Women’s Soccer League. The team sold out and created a vibrant atmosphere at BMO Stadium in Los Angeles.
At the forefront of Angel City Soccer Club is Natalie Portman herself, who is heavily involved as a co-founder and lead supporter. City of Angels, a new documentary series on HBO Max, chronicles the launch of a women’s professional team, the first to be founded and led by women.
“City of Angels” shows the beginning of the creation of the team and the path of its founders. The series highlights the resilience and determination of those like Portman who have 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 so positive and upbeat and just joyful,” Portman said.
Portman’s inspiration for the team came in part from her son’s fascination with the Women’s World Cup. After seeing the impact and greatness of female athletes, she felt compelled to contribute to the cultural change surrounding women in sports.
“It’s important to me that when I see all these kids in the stadium, of all genders, watching our female athletes, I feel like the culture has changed,” Portman said.
She said she wasn’t really into sports, but she was inspired by what soccer players do.
Portman’s co-founders, including entrepreneur Julie Urman and venture capitalist Kara Northman, initially thought Portman was joking when she suggested starting a women’s soccer team. But in the end, during Zoom meetings during the pandemic, they formulated better working conditions for their athletes, including preparation for careers after the game.
Portman and her co-founders aren’t just aiming to revolutionize women’s soccer; they aim to change the landscape of women’s sports forever. Angel City 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 efforts on the field, but also for its famous investors. Hollywood icons like it Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney also made their own foray into football. Additionally, the Emmy-winning comedy series Ted Laso contributed to the football craze in Hollywood.
The convergence of these businesses with the rise of Angel City demonstrates the growing popularity of the sport.
“It was good timing because we were already on the road when these things came out,” Portman said. “It really feels like such an incredible synergy.”