LOS ANGELES – The year was 2019.
The U.S. Women's National Soccer team had just captured its fourth World Cup and excitement surrounding women's soccer as a whole, was at an all-time high.
While many fans of the sport took that energy and paid it towards their local National Women's Soccer League franchises, those in Los Angeles had nowhere to look to — until now.
Fast forward to July 21, 2020 when the NWSL awarded expansion rights to a new team in Los Angeles, dubbed appropriately Angel City.
Team president Julie Uhrman said the time and place was right to bring one of the top global sports to one of the best sports markets in the world.
“Los Angeles has nine professional sports teams, two robust NCAA powerhouses with USC and UCLA," Uhrman explained. "And yet they’re missing some of the best players in the world, in the top global sport in the world, so we thought now was the time.”
While soccer isn't exactly Uhrman's forte, sports have always played a fundamental role in her life.
She grew up playing basketball in Beverly Hills and throughout college. And coincidentally, it was a soccer game last year where she first learned of the opportunity to join Angel City.
“Every summer, I play in this wild feminist women in tech basketball league," she said. "Kara Nortman knows I’m a big sports fan, told me about her plan with Natalie Portman to bring a women’s soccer team here and I jumped at the chance.”
Her background wasn't in the NWSL, it was in entrepreneurship, which made her a great fit with the ownership group.
That group includes 14 former U.S. Women's National Team members, tech innovators, media moguls, actors and activists — all coming together for a cause they say is much bigger than just a game on field.
“This is not a charity case," Uhrman said. "We think women’s pro soccer is undervalued, that there’s a huge opportunity and we can make an impact on and off the field.”
“It’s about building a platform and using that platform to engage, promote, to use it as a megaphone so the rest of the world pays attention.”
Their hope is to bring that attention to issues like play equity and pay equality.
As an L.A. native herself, Uhrman believes Los Angeles is the perfect city to bridge several different platforms.
"I love Los Angeles, it’s the city where ideas become businesses and dreamers turn into creators," she said. "And we have the ability to really shine a light on things that are important.”
While the club doesn't officially debut until 2022, she and her team will spend the next year and a half working to make those goals a reality.