America Ferrera is helping bring women’s professional soccer to the City of Angels.
The 36-year-old Honduran American actress has joined fellow Hollywood stars and former members of the U.S. women’s national team to form an ownership group to bring an NWSL team to Los Angeles in 2022.
The new yet-to-be-announced team, announced on Tuesday, is led by venture capitalists Alexis Ohanian and Kara Nortman and entrepreneur Julie Uhrman.
In addition to Ferrera, the ownership group also includes actresses Uzo Aduba, Jessica Chastain, Jennifer Garner, Eva Longoria and Natalie Portman, as well as talk show host Lilly Singh.
Serena Williams, who is married to Ohanian, is also part of the ownership group.
Among the 14 former USWNTplayers who are part of the group are Julie Foudy, Mia Hamm, Lauren Holiday and Abby Wambach.
“I am proud to be a part of this wonderful group working to bring a women’s professional football club to Los Angeles,” Ohanian said.
“Chiefly, because I’m a fan of the game, but also because I believe there is massive potential for the sport and it’s been absurdly undervalued by too many people for far too long. As someone who spends hours kicking around a football with my 2-year-old daughter, I want her to have a front-row seat to this revolution.”
Most of the former U.S. players are Southern California natives or have ties to the area, as is the case for Hamm, who is also part of the Major League Soccer (MLS) Los Angeles FC ownership group.
The Angel City group did not indicate an immediate affiliation with an existing MLS team or other entity and said a venue partner, as well as the club’s official name, would be announced at a later date.
Six of the nine current NWSL teams are affiliated with men’s professional teams: four with Major League Soccer teams, one with a United Soccer League (USL) team and one with Olympique Lyonnais of France.
Los Angeles had long been seen as a landing spot for the NWSL, now in its eighth year of competition and doesn’t have a team based in California.
Both the Women’s United Soccer Association(WUSA) and Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) leagues, previous iterations of the women’s professional soccer league, had teams in Southern California — the WUSA’s San Diego Spirit and WPS’ Los Angeles Sol.
“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,” NWSL commissioner Lisa Baird said in a statement.
“Those factors, along with an incredible ownership group make this an ideal situation and we couldn’t be more thrilled to move forward.”
Aduba, Ferrera, Garner, Longoria and Portman attended when the USWNT beat Belgium at LAFC’s Banc of California Stadium in 2019.
The other former national team players in the ownership group are Shannon Boxx, Rachel Buehler, Amanda Cromwell, Joy Fawcett, Tisha Venturini Hoch, Angela Hucles, Shannon MacMillan, Saskia Webber and sisters Lorrie Fair Allen and Ronnie Fair Sullins.
The Los Angeles team will be the NWSL’s 11th team, following Racing Louisville‘s debut in 2021.
Neither the WUSA nor WPS ever fielded as many as 11 teams. The NWSL began play in 2013 with eight teams and reached its previous high-water mark of 10 teams in the 2016-17 seasons, before the Boston Breakers folded prior to the 2018-19 season.