NWSL announces expansion to Los Angeles; new club will be called ‘Angel City'

FILE - In this Oct. 27, 2019, file photo, North Carolina Courage's Jessica McDonald (14) celebrates her goal with Abby Erceg (6) during the first half of an NWSL championship soccer game against the Chicago Red Stars in Cary, N.C. There are just a handful of mothers who play professional soccer in the NWSL. But when the league asks players to travel to Utah and be sequestered for more than a month, moms' voices are important. North Carolina Courage forward Jessica McDonald, whose son Jeremiah is 8 years old. She spoke up new NWSL Commissioner Lisa Baird got the moms on a call to discuss the tournament. (AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker,FIle)

Two years after a new Major League Soccer team in Los Angeles played its first game, the country’s top professional women’s league added to the market.

The National Women’s Soccer League announced Tuesday its expansion into L.A. with a new club scheduled to start play in the spring of 2022. The team’s name and stadium partner will be announced before the end of the year, but it has called itself “Angel City.”

“We’ve long sought the right partner in L.A. 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 an we couldn’t be more thrilled to move forward.

The new club in L.A. feature’s a who’s who of high profile celebrities and athletes, including: actors Natalie Portman, Jessica Chastain, Jennifer Garner and Eva Longoria; former U.S. Women’s Soccer Team player Mia Hamm; two-time U.S. Olympic gold medalists Abby Wambach and Lauren Holiday; tennis player Serena Williams; and many others.

“Together, we aim to build not only a winning team on the field, but also to develop a passionately loyal fan base,” Portman said.

This is the second NWSL expansion announced in less than a year. Last October, the league tapped Louisville as its next city. That club, recently named Racing Louisville FC, will debut next season.

The most recent expansion team to play games in the league is the Utah Royals FC, which had its inaugural season in 2018.