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Natalie Portman, Serena Williams form ownership group for L.A. women's soccer team

Actress Natalie Portman (pictured) and Serena Williams were part of a large ownership group announced Tuesday for a new National Women's Soccer League team in Los Angeles. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI
Actress Natalie Portman (pictured) and Serena Williams were part of a large ownership group announced Tuesday for a new National Women's Soccer League team in Los Angeles. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

July 21 (UPI) -- Actress Natalie Portman and tennis star Serena Williams are part of a ownership group -- founded mostly by women -- that has secured exclusive rights to bring a professional women's soccer team to Los Angeles in 2022.

The National Women's Soccer League announced formation of the team Tuesday.

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Portman, technology venture capitalist Kara Nortman, media and gaming entrepreneur Julie Uhrman and tech entrepreneur Alexis Ohanian -- Williams' husband -- were announced as the founding group's leaders.

"Today we take an exciting step by announcing the first women majority-owned and led ownership group," Portman said in a news release. "I am thrilled by the opportunity to partner with this incredible group of people to bring a professional women's soccer team to Los Angeles."

Williams' and Ohanian's daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. and actors Uzo Aduba, Jessica Chastain, America Ferrera, Jennifer Garner and Eva Longoria also are part-owners of the club.

Julie Foudy, Mia Hamm and Abby Wambach are among more than a dozen former United States Women's National Team stars in the ownership group. Author Glennon Doyle and executives from Netflix, Bad Robot and Baby2Baby also are part-owners.

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An official name and competition venue for the team will be announced before the end of 2020. The NWSL includes nine teams.

The league's 2020 season was scheduled to begin in April before it was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The league resumed with the NWSL Challenge Cup tournament in June.

"The growth trajectory of the NWSL is incredibly exciting, but we also need to be strategic and thoughtful about how fast we expand and the communities we partner with," NWSL Commissioner Lisa Baird said.

"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. Those factors, along with an incredible ownership group make this an ideal situation and we couldn't be more thrilled to move forward."

Serena Williams' tennis career: a look back

Serena Williams returns the ball to her sister, Venus, during their match at the Lipton Tennis Championship in Key Biscayne, Fla., on March 28, 1998. Venus Williams, defeated her sister 6-1, 4-6, 6-4. Photo by Susan Knowles/UPI | License Photo

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