Angel City FC (videos)
Flashback. It is the middle of summer 2019 and the Women's World Cup is in full swing in France. Natalie Portman is taking advantage of the tournament to spend time watching the competition with her son, after having tasted the joys of the stands at US national team matches. "Seeing my son idolise Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan as he does Lionel Messi and Karim Benzema has made me realise one thing: highlighting female athletes can bring about a real change in mentality," the "Black Swan" star told the British daily The Guardian.
A club at the service of the community, but not only!
In addition to a successful team, the "Portman team", the only club to represent the City of Angels on the women's side, wants to embody the values of the group of more than 100 owners who have taken the reins of Angel City FC. The idea is to better protect the players during and after their career on the field by creating a solid financial fund. In addition, the club helps the local community by funding the planting of gardens in primary schools, providing sports bras to young female footballers and serving thousands of meals to people in financial difficulty. "Angel City reinvests 10% of its sponsorship income (estimated at $35 million, an NWSL record) into the community," the Guardian reports.
This is an unprecedented approach, based on the desire to go even further in terms of professionalism and support for female footballers, without overshadowing the desire to offer a quality show to the Los Angeles public. With this in mind, the club has already signed striker Christen Press, a two-time world champion with the United States and a member of the NWSL's all-star team on four occasions! This is quite a coup and proves that sporting ambition goes hand in hand with social ambition. With her experience, Press, 33, seems to be an ideal element to guide a well-balanced team, "which could be in the race for the Playoffs", according to Marisa Pilla, commentator of the American championship for the CBS Sports channel. And that's just the beginning.
"Our dream is that women's football will be as valued as its male counterpart" explains Natalie Portman. This is a mission well underway for a club that has just begun to take shape and that benefits from a management team that is both experienced and committed, and that is also concerned about providing its employees with infrastructures worthy of the name. The team will play at the 22,000-seat Banc of California Stadium.
In any case, in terms of communication, everything is done according to the rules of the art to attract the public to Angel City FC: a splendid jersey presented by the boss Portman herself, the first home match with the actress as a luxury capo to harangue the supporters, all the ingredients are there for this footballing adventure to be a success. More than a publicity stunt, the creation of Angel City FC confirms the expansion of women's football at the popular level, but also as a vector of social and societal equality. Couldn’t this be Natalie Portman's greatest role?