The Angel City Football Club: Empowering Women Athletes and Local Communities
Los Angeles is a city that births trailblazers and culture shapers in every industry, from entertainment to tech to sports. And no organization embodies LA’s drive and innovative spirit more than the Angel City Football Club.
Currently making its mark on the national and international football scene, Angel City FC is a testament to the power of diversity and unwavering commitment in a male-dominated sport. Here’s what you need to know about this Los Angeles sports club:
About Angel City FC
From the very beginning, Angel City FC went beyond the boundaries of a conventional football club. Founded by industry giants like Natalie Portman, Kara Nortman, Julie Uhrman, and Alexis Ohanian, Angel City FC always puts the Los Angeles community at the heart of everything it does.
The club is a team of highly-skilled athletes and professionals as well as a mission-driven entity. For them, football is a conduit for community initiatives, which range from providing free educational programs to promoting LGBTQ+ and gender equality.
Inception and milestones
- Inauguration. Although it was formally established in July 2020, Angel City FC’s journey in the world of soccer began with the announcement of its entry into the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) in 2022.
- First win. Under the guidance of then Head Coach Freya Coombe, Angel City FC made a remarkable impact in its inaugural season. The club’s competitive journey kicked off on March 3, 2022, with a 1-1 draw against San Diego Wave in the Challenge Cup. On April 30, 2022, Angel City FC secured its first NWSL regular season victory against North Carolina Courage.
- International matches. Their inaugural season also included two international friendlies with Tigres UANL (as part of their two-year partnership with Liga MX Femenil) and the Mexico Women’s National Team (during the Copa Angelina, a non-FIFA inaugural match).
- Noteworthy records. Although they did not make the playoffs, they achieved the second-best on-field record for expansion teams in NWSL history, marked by four sold-out home games and an impressive average attendance of 19,105 fans per match.
Breaking boundaries on and off the field
Angel City FC transcends traditional football norms, making waves not only through its players’ athletic prowess, but also through its values and initiatives:
- Creating impact: Essential, Equity, Education. Angel City FC’s community endeavors are guided by three pillars, which represent their commitment to holistic impact. The “Essential” pillar focuses on providing basic needs to families, ensuring they can thrive at home, in school, and in sports. “Equity” aims to break down barriers for marginalized groups, granting them access to resources, information, and opportunities. Lastly, the “Education” pillar empowers both children and adults to explore new pathways, fostering personal growth and development.
- Unique funding approach. Angel City FC’s funding strategy is similar to a startup mindset. Rather than relying solely on wealthy individuals, the club adopts a milestone-based approach, inviting new investors as financial needs evolve. Not only does this foster a sense of community ownership and involvement in the club’s journey, but it is also an approach that aligns with the club’s ethos of dynamism and innovation.
- A platform for change. When it comes to the vision and mission of Angel City FC, President Julie Uhrman articulates it best in this Off The Pitch interview: “We want to use this club – the players, the coaches, the front office, the investors – as a platform to set higher expectations. And we want to do that in two ways – through equality and impact.” By utilizing its growing presence in the sports world and its growing network of advocates, the club serves as a vehicle for fostering a more inclusive and equitable community in LA and beyond.
Angel City FC’s official crest and colors
The graceful angel figure that dominates the team’s crest draws inspiration from Southern California’s iconic red-tailed hawk, mirroring the bird’s majestic wings in its design. The wing’s edges also evoke the silhouette of the region’s hallmark palm trees, paying homage to its natural beauty.
While the overall structure follows the conventions of traditional soccer crests, what would have been the horizontal top line is replaced by a 22-degree slope, signifying Angel City FC’s on-field debut in 2022 as well as their groundbreaking journey.
Moreover, the carefully chosen colors of Angel City FC’s crest – asphalt, armour, and sol rosa – represent the breadth of Los Angeles’ culture and environment, from its urban streets to its coastal sunsets.
What Angel City FC has achieved so far
Despite only making their debut last year, Angel City FC has already amassed a wealth of achievements and accomplishments. Here are some of them:
The 2022 season: A strong start
Competing in the NWSL for their introductory season, Angel City FC left a strong first impression in the sport – and they made sure to make it count.
Throughout the 2022 season, they were able to showcase the talents of 23 players, with 9 different goal scorers contributing to a total of 25 goals across all competitions. Savannah McCaskill emerged as the leading scorer, securing 7 goals, followed closely by Christen Press and Cari Roccaro with 4 goals each.
Over the course of 22 games, the team secured 8 wins, 5 draws, and 9 losses during the regular season. Their efforts earned them an 8th-place finish in the 2022 NWSL regular season. And in the NWSL Challenge Cup, Angel City FC engaged in 6 matches, achieving 1 victory (against Portland Thorns FC) and 1 draw (against San Diego Wave FC).
Recent games: Angel City FC’s on-going journey through the 2023 season
While the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup grabbed everyone’s attention throughout the year, Angel City FC also kept busy on the soccer field. Here’s a quick recap of their most recent games and standing for the 2023 NWSL season:
- Clash with Racing Louisville FC (1-1 Draw)
Aug 19, 2023 at Lynn Family Stadium, Louisville, Kentucky
This match marks the team’s fourth meeting with Racing Louisville FC. Last season, these two teams split the results, with ACFC securing a 3–2 victory on the road but falling 1–3 at home. In their first encounter this year, the teams battled to a 2–2 tie, with Racing taking a 2–0 lead before goals from Katie Johnson and Savannah McCaskill salvaged a point for Angel City.
Before this match, Racing Louisville FC stood in seventh place in the league, while Angel City FC held the tenth position. ACFC’s prior league game – against the top-ranked North Carolina Courage – showcased their prowess, earning a 2–1 victory with McCaskill and Elizabeth Eddy making their marks.
Match highlights: The 1-1 draw was hard-fought, with Angel City FC on the attack in the first half, but found themselves on the defense in the second. Katie Johnson’s well-executed goal in the 67th minute was one of the highlights of the game, giving the team the lead. However, a strike by Racing Louisville’s Kirsten Davis ensured that the match ended in a draw.
- Final Challenge Cup match against San Diego Wave FC (1-1 Draw)
Aug 5, 2023 at Torero Stadium, San Diego, California
Angel City FC’s final 2023 UKG NWSL Challenge Cup match was against San Diego Wave FC, which also marks their second encounter with the team for the year and their fourth overall meeting in all competitions. Before the match, Angel City FC was in second place in the West division, with two wins, two losses, and one draw under their belt, and enjoyed a good momentum after winning their match against the Portland Thorns a few weeks prior.
Match highlights: The match resulted in a 1-1 draw, featuring goals from forward Scarlett Camberos (Angel City FC) and forward/midfielder Jaedyn Shaw (San Diego Wave FC). The draw secured Angel City FC’s second-place position in the Challenge Cup’s West division. Although the result ended their journey in the knockout rounds, the team’s efforts and resilience on the field were evident throughout the match.
The people who make Angel City FC possible
From pioneering founders and visionary leaders to exceptional players and dedicated coaches, here are the individuals that continue to shape Angel City FC’s extraordinary journey:
FOUNDERS AND INVESTORS
Natalie Portman (Founder), the renowned Academy Award-winning actress and passionate advocate for women’s rights, is the driving force behind the inception of Angel City FC. As co-founder of the club, Portman’s vision for gender equality and empowerment stretches beyond Hollywood, not only by bringing women’s soccer to the spotlight, but also by envisioning the sport’s potential through its intersections with tech, business, entertainment, and culture. She is also an avid advocate of organizations like Time’s Up and WE.
Kara Nortman (Founder), a visionary venture capitalist, lends her expertise as one of Angel City FC’s founders. Inspired by the dearth of women’s jerseys following a Women’s World Cup, Nortman embarked on this journey to create her own club, bringing with her a wealth of experience from her time at Upfront Ventures and IAC. An architect of change, she also co-founded All Raise, a nonprofit that advocates for gender diversity in the tech ecosystem.
Julie Uhrman (President and Founder) is an entrepreneur with a penchant for community building and one of the most influential people in sports business. Under her leadership, the Angel City FC was named Sports Team of the Year by the Sports Business Journal, making them the first women’s team ever to win the category. She is also an active board member of the LA Sports and Entertainment Commission, The Rose Bowl Institute, and the LA Sports Council.
Alexis Ohanian (Leading Investor) adds a unique perspective to Angel City FC. Co-founder of Reddit, Initialized Capital, and Seven Seven Six, Ohanian’s investment in the team echoes his commitment to fostering opportunities in women’s sports, fueled by his admiration for the inspiring women in his life, including his wife Serena Williams. He is also a strong advocate for the open internet, STEM education, and paid family leave.
Alyssa Thompson (Midfielder)
Teenage phenom Alyssa Thompson, who made her USWNT debut at the age of 18 in November 2022, brings remarkable promise to the field. Drafted as the No. 1 overall pick by Angel City in January 2023, she scored the team’s inaugural goal of the 2023 season on her NWSL debut. Thompson’s sprinter’s speed, dribbling prowess, and soccer acumen have earned her the title of “generational talent.” Her transition from boys’ club Total Futbol Academy and high school standout to international play with the USWNT seems to only be the beginning of her exceptional trajectory.
Ali Riley (Captain and defender)
Also the captain of New Zealand’s national team, Ali Riley is a seasoned defender with a prolific international career. Joining Angel City FC after a successful tenure with Orlando Pride, Riley’s leadership and defensive prowess have been key to the team’s winning matches so far. With a rich history that includes Olympic Games and FIFA Women’s World Cup appearances, Riley’s commitment to excellence is evident both on and off the pitch. Aside from her athletic achievements, Riley also engages in media, wellness, and culinary pursuits.
Jun Endo (Forward)
A standout from Japan, Jun Endo’s relentless work ethic and unselfish play have made her a fan favorite. Before she joined Angel City FC, she was a prized player in Tokyo Verdy Beleza, contributing greatly to the team’s win in the Asia Football Confederation’s Women’s Club Championship. With experience at the national and international levels, including U-17 and U-20 World Cup appearances, Endo’s skill and energy on the field make her a player to watch.
Christen Press (Forward)
The star of the team, Christen Press, brings her World Cup-winning pedigree to Angel City FC. Despite recovering from an ACL injury, her influence is undeniable. As a member of the USWNT, Press boasts an impressive record of goals and assists, as well as an Olympic bronze medal. Her leadership extends off the field through ventures like Re-inc, an eco-conscious fashion company. A dynamic player with in-depth experience on a national and international level, Press’s legacy and determination exemplify the team’s ethos.
Sydney Ray Leroux (Forward)
A seasoned athlete with a triumphant history, Sydney Ray Leroux’s achievements include gold at the 2012 Summer Olympics and the 2015 Women’s World Cup trophy. Her journey spans college dominance at UCLA to professional accomplishments, including NWSL breakout seasons with Boston Breakers and Seattle Reign. Despite injuries and international commitments in 2015 and 2016, Leroux’s impact on the field remains impressive. A tenacious player with a resilient spirit, she embodies Angel City FC’s dedication to excellence.
|Other players on the 2023 roster include:
Angela Hucles Mangano (General Manager) stands at the helm of Angel City FC’s technical and coaching staff. A retired USWNT powerhouse and founding investor of the club, Hucles Mangano oversees the club’s sporting vision, coaching, player care, and more. Her impressive international career includes 109 caps and two Olympic gold medals, bringing unmatched expertise to her pivotal role.
Becki Tweed (Interim Head Coach) is an astute coach with over a decade of experience across youth development academies, college, professional, and international levels. Her tenure at Gotham FC saw remarkable achievements, including guiding the team to the 2021 Challenge Cup Final and the 2021 NWSL playoffs. Tweed also led the Gotham FC Reserves team to a 2021 WPSL championship and was named WPSL Coach of the Year. With a USSF A License and UEFA Coaching License, she combines tactical prowess with player development finesse, making her a key part in Angel City FC’s pursuit of victory.
Daniel Ball (Head of Goalkeeping) is a true asset to the club. Formerly the goalkeeper coach for NWSL’s NJ/NY Gotham FC, Ball has nurtured talents like DiDi Haračić and Kailen Sheridan, a 2020 Olympic gold medalist. His achievements also include guiding Bowling Green to consecutive Mid-American Conference championships and NCAA tournament appearances. Moreover, Ball’s commitment to player growth extends to his own journey, with ongoing education in education leadership and administration.
Giving back to the community
Through a series of innovative partnerships, purpose-driven sponsorships, and hands-on engagements, the club has become a force for positive change on and off the pitch. Here’s a look at how Angel City FC is making a difference and championing women’s sports in Los Angeles and beyond:
Sponsorship contributions with a purpose
Angel City FC has taken a pioneering approach to sponsorship contributions by pledging to donate 10% of its sponsorship earnings to programs dedicated to equity, education, and essentials. This has translated to over $4.5 million redirected into the community, fostering partnerships with not only Hollywood A-listers but also impactful activists such as Uzo Aduba, Jessica Chastain, Jennifer Garner, and Eva Longoria.
Collaborative impact with partners
The club’s collaborations with sponsors have yielded remarkable results, translating sponsorship funds into real-world change. For instance, partnerships with brands like Doordash have facilitated the delivery of over 485,195 meals and packing of 2,000+ essential kits. The partnership with Gatorade has also seen the training of 70 coaches and the coaching of over 2,350 youth players, while Sprouts Farmers Market has distributed a staggering 1 million pounds of fresh produce and rejuvenated 8 school garden programs.
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