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Angel City FC

Los Angeles expansion signals new era for NWSL

Photo copyright by Lewis Gettier/The Equalizer.

 

The National Women’s Soccer League is not only alive but well. As the wildly successful NWSL Challenge Cup approaches its final three matches, the league made a landmark announcement early Tuesday: it is expanding again, this time to Los Angeles. Angel City — a placeholder name at this point — fired out the starting blocks early in the day with an impressive portfolio of investors that will make the NWSL more prominent in any major city than it ever has been before.

Los Angeles housed a women’s team once before, in 2009 when the LA Sol were the roast of Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS). But the Sol were fool’s gold. Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) agreed to invest for one season, and one season only. When a sale fell through in the 11th hour, they pulled out, and the team folded, sending the league into chaos it would never fully recover from. In the decade since, as WPS folded and the NWSL was born, no city in North America has been tied closer to expansion speculation than Los Angeles.

In the end, it was not the LA Galaxy that opened up their wallets. And it wasn’t the shiny new kids over at LAFC, save for Mia Hamm. Instead, it was a fresh investment group, one that came rolling in with enough money and ideas to blow the absurd ‘MLS-only’ model out of the water. That is, the longstanding belief that any new NWSL ownership had to have ties to an existing men’s club suddenly seemed less important in the face of names like Julie Uhrman, Kara Nortman, and Alexis Ohanian. Those three alone can dabble well into nine figures as a troika. NWSL ownership is not cheap but remains safely in the lower millions range.

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