Angel City (2023) s01e01 Episode Script

Brick by Brick

[TV static drones]
[bright tone]
[cheers and applause]
Natalie Portman!
One, two, three!
[all clapping rhythmically]
[all shout]
I never imagined that I
would have anything to do
with professional
sports [laughs]
Certainly not that
I'd be a co-owner,
co-founder of a professional
women's soccer team.
But it's been one of the most
extraordinary experiences
of my life.
[contemplative music]

And here are
the all-male nominees.
[laughter, clamoring]
- Taking center stage
at the Golden Globes
was the Time's Up movement.
We've drawn a line in the sand
that says this is not
acceptable anymore
and things that we lived
with and took for granted
as the way world was
That's changed.
One of the Time's Up events
was with the U.S.
Women's National Team,
who were valiantly
fighting for equal pay.
And you just see this
extraordinary talent
and this extraordinary
[cheers and applause]
And yet, it's so
shockingly undervalued.
These are the best
players in the world
that are huge, huge stars.
Still, people are like,
"There's a soccer
league in the U.S.?"
It's the NWSL.
Tymrak tries to again
Trying to apply the
pressure, and it's gone in!
That is an extraordinary goal.
The league value
and the team values were
just staggeringly low.
They weren't getting what they
deserved for broadcasting,
for advertising, for
sponsorship deals.
And it wasn't just the money.
The players weren't getting
the right workplace protections.
[crowd cheering]
We started thinking, well,
what if we built a team?
What would it look like
to try and build
this a different way?
We want this to succeed.
We want all the
teams to succeed.
We want the players to succeed
and for them to be
safe and to be valued.
And not everyone
was happy with us.
You know, some people
were mad at us,
but I think that's normal
when you try and
change something.
All right, off we go!
Angel City, spread your wings!
[upbeat rock music]
- U.S. soccer on
the women's side
has been fighting for respect.
The mantra always was,
"You should be thankful,
and you can't screw it up."
- The National
Women's Soccer League
just kicked off
its tenth season.
- Two new clubs coming
out in California.
- Angel City Football
Club in Los Angeles
is backed by the largest
female ownership group
in professional sports.
- 14 former U.S. Women's
National Team players
are investors.
- These are the best
players in the world.
- We're gonna elevate the sport
and show how
valuable it truly is.
- When you watch
these athletes play,
you're changing something
that was formed in your brain
about what it means for
a woman to be a woman.
Hey, oh, hey, oh ♪
Sometimes you dream
impossible dreams alone,
and you kind of
let them go away,
and you're like,
"Oh, that's silly."
But when there's a person
you respect and love
who's like, "Wait, that's
a good idea keep going,"
you can keep the ball rolling.
- Like, what's up, rock star?
- I know.
You, like, walk in, and we
don't have to do anything.
I know. [laughter]
She walked in.
She's game ready.
She is game ready.
Kara Nortman is this
brilliant venture capitalist
who I met through my
work with Time's Up.
I had been helping out
with the U.S.
Women's National
Players Association,
and I have this
occasional tendency
to write diatribes
with passionate ideas I have.
And Natalie would receive
[laughs] To her credit,
she'd receive these
long text messages,
and she just wrote back,
"I think we should
try to start a team."
And I truly thought
she was kidding,
and then she said
it the third time,
and I was like, "Okay,
I mean, let's talk."
And then, of course, when
she brought Julie along,
that's when it really got going.
I mean, if this is what it means
to own a football club
- [laughing]
- Totally in.
Julie is this
incredible entrepreneur,
has started many companies
And boundless energy.
I can dribble it, 'cause
that I'm good with.
See? I told her, every
time she has the ball,
she looks like a boss.
The majority of sports
teams are owned by men.
We approached it differently.
It's three female founders,
and we wanted to raise
money to build Angel City
from individuals who believed
in our mission and our purpose.
We knew Angel City could
be bigger than the game.
- We created a deck that
pitched the idea as a startup.
To get kind of our central,
large, lead investor,
we have 100 meetings,
and they're, like everyone's
got a problem with it.
We'll never sell any tickets.
There's 11 teams in L.A.
You're not gonna get
a broadcast deal.
No one watches women's sports.
Unless you get a broadcast deal,
the math never makes sense.
Over and over and over again.
I mean, I always
say we got 99 nos.
And I don't know
how many nos we got,
but it certainly feels like 99.
Until we got to Alexis.
The reason I invested is because
I just see nothing but
opportunity, right?
This is the most popular
sport in the world.
These Americans
are the best at it.
There is no competition
in the American psyche
for American soccer
greatness with men.
Means we have an open
field. [chuckles]
As we were gathering investors,
I was like, we have to get Abby.
Abby Wambach! [crowd cheering]
I had no idea why
Natalie Portman
wanted to connect with me.
When she asked for me
to be a part of it,
I kind of interrupt
her I was like, "Yes.
"I want to be a part of this.
Of course I want to
be a part of this."

This is making it into,
you know, the zeitgeist
in the way that we wanted it to.
Well, you were
telling me yesterday
that only 4% of women
sports are covered.
Yeah, only 4% of sports coverage
- is of women's sports.
- Mm-hmm.
I have so many ideas, you know,
that I can help
out with the team,
and I'm from L.A., and
I play sports, so
I mean, "play sports"
is a little bit
of an understatement,
so [laughs]
Hey, Natalie! Everyone,
Natalie's here.
And it's, what, 6:00
a.m. in Australia?
It is. Good morning, good
evening, wherever you are.
And, Eva, you're
in Mexico, right?
We're hitting all corners
of the world right now.
[laughs] I'm in Mexico!
- I'm listening, but
I really got to go.
- He's looking for a pen
- Someone is unmuted.
[overlapping chatter]
So, if everyone
can mute, please.
Who's unmuted?
Who is it?
Thank you.
It's a super-emotional
moment to see everyone
who's come together
in the community,
just even on the Zoom in
the way it spanned out.
- Hey, everybody, Julie
has been such a rock star,
and so grateful for her
getting us to this point.
And you'll hear the news
she's gonna update us all with
in a time when we fucking need
exciting and positive news.
And I also want to acknowledge
and recognize all of the players
who are among us.
I am thrilled to
announce that we are,
as of 6:55 this morning,
an official member of the NWSL.
[all cheering]
Really, thank you for
making this a reality
When we were raising
money, a lot of the focus
was on the National
Women's Soccer League
and how stable it
was because it was
the third incarnation
of a league,
and it felt fragile.
[crowd cheering]
Welcome live to an historic
night for women's soccer.
It's the inaugural
match of the NWSL.
The NWSL, aka the National
Women's Soccer League,
is the third attempt at women's
professional soccer in America.
The first one that started
basically right in the wake
of the 1999 World Cup
survives for three years.
Professional soccer is
a constant struggle.
Now, the women's league
has gone bust.
The money's not coming in,
and the league falls apart.
They try again,
and, again, three years,
the league falls apart.
The NWSL is founded in 2012,
and covering the league
back in those days,
it was really just Can
you make it to year four?
Can you make it to year five?
There have been a lot of doubts
throughout those ten years,
in terms of, will this be
the league that makes it
as a professional
women's soccer league?
Press with a great
touch to settle it.
Press with the goal!
In 2017, the league
was so far below
the standards of what
players could experience
playing over in Europe.
And what, really, that
illuminated for me
is that there weren't
the right owners.
You had to find people
that actually believed
that this was a business.
A lot of the rhetoric is,
"Well, it's never made
money in the past."
Like, yes, because you've
never actually invested in it.
And if we are always going
to rely on past data,
then you're just always gonna
continue to replicate the past.
This has to be looked
at like a startup.
In the beginning, a
lot of people said,
"Is this a nonprofit?"
And I said, "Hell,
no." [laughs]
- Let's go see them
- Mm-hmm.
I came from a different world.
I just would keep
asking questions.
Like, I don't understand why.
Like, why does it
have to be this way?
Why have players never gotten
a percentage of gate revenue?
Or why isn't there a
board structured this way?
Or, you know, why don't we
give away 10% of sponsorships?
And it's like, "Well, that's
the way it's done in sports."
Kari, do you have to
go to this meeting?
- Yeah.
- All right
- I think Angel City had
some problems early on.
They were very ambitious.
They had big goals.
They were fined twice
for violating league rules
in their conversations
with different players.
Honestly, we just
want to make sure
that we're aboveboard
across the board
and that we are going to
not get our team fined
by screwing up.
You know, we're a new team.
A lot of us haven't
been in soccer before.
And so do I question the league
or get upset with the
league for fining us?
No. If we break a rule, we
should absolutely be fined.
We're learning the
rules, and a lot of times
we're kind of pushing
against the boundaries
because we question why the
rules are the way they are.
We really just want to do
everything we possibly can
to change the
things that matter.
Before we even thought
about having a team,
I was lucky enough
to hear Abby Wambach
tell a moving story about
when she was up onstage
receiving the ESPY Icon Award.
And Abby's inspiration
really launched
this whole endeavor.
I retired in 2015.
I was an Olympian,
a world champion.
But I didn't have much to
show for it financially.
A few months later,
they wanted to give me
the Icon ESPY Award.
Thank you.
It's such an honor to be here
alongside Peyton and Kobe.
You guys are my heroes.
We all got our awards,
and the three of us
turned to walk offstage,
and something else, like,
bubbled to the surface.
It was this kind of rage.
I'd spent my whole career
comparing myself to
only other women.
And here was this opportunity
that I was getting
the exact same award.
And the three of us were walking
into very, very
different retirements.
Their biggest concerns
were how they were gonna
invest their hundreds
of millions of dollars
that they rightfully earned.
And mine was And
this is a true story
How I was gonna find a job
to get health insurance,
to be able to pay my
mortgage that month.
In order to change systems
you have to start over,
and you have to rebuild it
with something different.
- [energetic music playing]
- Six, five, five,
four, three, two, one.
I started my career
on a trading floor.
There was one other woman there.
Then I was an investment
banker no other women.
Then I got into video games.
There's maybe a
couple, a handful.
So, if there's 20
in a room, maybe 3.
And they're all lower level.
I mean, they're not
the senior level.
They're not the leadership.
We built Angel City differently.
Female founders,
majority female team
investing in our
successes as we go.
As an expansion team,
everybody is gonna
have a lot to do.
Elle, we'll leave
in five minutes.
The sporting director is
like the CEO of a company.
They will be responsible
for hiring the coaches,
hiring the performance team,
recruiting players
and build, really,
the infrastructure
and the culture
to see the players
develop and win.
And selecting our
sporting instructor
was a unanimous decision.
Eni just brought all
the pieces together.
She has just this unbelievable
depth of knowledge.
[crowd cheering]
Is that better?
Does she know what's
happening or
Yeah, okay, she's here.
- Eni!
- Hi.
We have so much respect for you,
both on and off the field.
We would be
absolutely honored
- Wow.
- If you would be
our first sporting director.
Wow! A little bit speechless.
We're one step closer to
kicking off that first season.
[crowd cheering]
- This is stunning.
- Wait, come here.
- And you see the pitch.
- Oh, my
Oh, my God! This is amazing!
This is where we're gonna play!
Oh, my God. I
cannot believe this.
I have goose bumps.
Banc of California,
where the men's professional
soccer team plays, LAFC,
has a maximum capacity
of 22,000 seats.
With LAFC, there was concern
that if I put a women's
professional sports team
into my stadium, it
doesn't sell out,
and there's a lot of open seats.
It's gonna reflect
badly on their brand,
and it's gonna make
it difficult for us
to achieve our goals.
I don't disagree
with that at all.
So the opportunity was to say,
well, that will never happen.
We are gonna sell out,
just like you sell out.
- We are in the grand lobby.
- Yeah.
So this is where all of the
premium customers enter.
You're in Hollywood.
Sun shines most of
the time, palm trees,
- a little glitz, a little glam.
- Right.
ACF's the ownership
group A lot of glitz,
- a lot of glam.
- Glam.
[upbeat music]
The L.A. market has nine
professional sports teams
and USC and UCLA.
You also have the beach and
the mountains and movies.
So this is the hardest
market to be successful,
let alone with
what was perceived
as an inferior product
of women's sports
and women's football.
LAFC, they were saying,
"Well, if you can't get,
like, 8,000 people there,
"it's not gonna feel fun
"'cause you're not gonna
feel like you're in a crowd.
And we're not sure you
can sell 8,000 seats."
And I was like, hmm.
I mean, I don't know anything
about anything about sports,
and they do.
And I was like, whoa,
they don't think we
can sell 8,000 seats.
All right, this is scary.
We believe that in order
for women's sports to grow,
in order for soccer to grow,
in order for these athletes
to be paid what they're worth,
we have to fill that stadium.
The way that we get people
to invest in us as a club
to show up at our stadium
is we invest in them
in a way that shows that
we're genuinely listening.
In 2019, right before
the France World Cup,
my husband and I
decided to make a banner
that just said,
"Bring NWSL to L.A.,"
'cause we were tired of having
to travel out of the state
or halfway across the world
to see badass women athletes
kick tail on the field.
All: Bring NWSL to L.A.!
A week before Angel
City was announced,
Julie asked if we could have,
like, a meeting with her.
And so we jumped on a
Zoom meeting with her,
and she said, "Just
wanted to let you know,
your movement to bring
NWSL to L.A., it worked."

The sort of force and
scope of our supporters
was unusual, for sure.
And I take very seriously
that responsibility
to those supporters.
Before we had a coach, I
know there were multiple
straight white male candidates.
And so, when there was a rumor
that we were going to
hire a specific coach,
the supporters
responded pretty vocally
on social media.
And coming out of the
Time's Up movement,
we had said, we need
to elevate women.
I mean, the supporters
basically just
pointed to our words and said,
"Is this in keeping with what
you've told us you're about?"
It's gonna come! Come on!
Angel City, they
announced Freya Coombe
as their new head coach.
A lot of responsibility
on her shoulders.
I am so happy for Freya Coombe
that she can take
a club and a team
and build it from the ground up.
Coach Freya was impressive.
She was at Gotham last year
and, I think,
really turned around
quite toxic culture in the team.
Welcome! Yay!
Freya is just
beloved by players,
such a strong presence.
Freya's in town,
as you guys know.
She's in town for
a week. [applause]
Freya, what's the
average attendance
of the games that you coached?
Average, I'd probably
say 2,000 to 3,000.
There are 22,000
seats in the stadium.
And then we're about
filling that stadium
with the fiercest and the
most inclusive supporters
in world soccer
Not just women's soccer
but in world soccer.
And the way we're gonna do
that is to make them proud
to invest in us because
we're investing in them.
Love it. So exciting.
Angel City definitely
had larger aspirations
and ambitions than
Gotham at that time
that I was involved in it.
So it was definitely a risk.
Do you want to just
give your background
from your words?
Like, I grew up as
a complete tomboy.
I went and played football
with the boys, and that was it.
Like, I was hooked.
So then you get to
that awkward age,
and you're a little bit older,
and then people are like,
"Well, girls can't play
football now, actually."
And it was like, "Well,
damn right I can."
So I cut all my hair off
and called myself Fred.
And then got into
coaching at university.
Here I am now.

- Draft day!
- Yay!
Cookies? Cookies
for breakfast.
- Yes.
- Well, breakfast of champions.
By the way, you know
who was in line with me
- at Cookie Good?
- Who?
Someone wearing Angel City gear,
- all excited about the draft.
- Get out!
She was like, "Can
I take a picture?"
Well, someone said to me
when I was running today
on Santa Monica,
"Yo, Angel City!"
And I was like, "Oh,
no! It's the draft day!"
Testing, testing.
Ha! Look at that! Hi!
- Turn it up, turn it up.
- Okay.
Tonight all eyes on the
two Golden State cities,
as Angel City FC and
the San Diego Wave
will pad out their teams
ahead of their inaugural seasons
in the National
Women's Soccer League.
Eni, what do you
think of Taylor?
I like her. I remember her.
I wanted a coach
that knew the NWSL.
And so, when it
came to the draft,
we weren't trying to figure
things out in the moment.
We just shared
ideas, and Freya led.
Get into frame. Stand in
where you're gonna be.
- There is a look at Angel City.
They have the first pick
of the expansion draft,
so now let's go live to L.A.
With Angel City FC's first pick,
ACFC selects Dani
Weatherholt from OL Reign.
[cheers and applause]
Angel City have selected
Dani Weatherholt.
[cheers and applause]
So one of the things that
we had the pleasure of doing
was bringing in supporter groups
to announce players
for the draft.
ACFC selects Jasmyne Spencer.
[cheers and applause]
Paige Nielsen
from Washington Spirit
I'm looking for the teams
that are chasing rings,
and I really think
that it's Angel City
that sort of came out swinging.
I think our spread's
been really good
Yeah, I agree
if we say so
ourself. [laughter]
We were very intentional
about who we selected
in the expansion draft,
doing our due diligence
around their personality,
their character,
making sure that
we're really building
a group of great people.
As a former player,
I would've loved to
play on this team
with Jun
with Sav McCaskill.
[rock music]
My name is Simone Charley.
I'm from Hoover, Alabama,
and I play forward.
Charley cuts to her left,
trying to squeeze
through, gets around.
Charley with a shot and
finds the near post!
- Goalkeepers are probably
known for being odd
a little weird in the head.
Ball gets ahead to it,
but what a save by Haracic.
We recruited more defenders
than any other
position on the field.
So, when teams come
up against Angel City,
they're like, "How
are we gonna score?"
My name is Paige Nielsen,
originally from Nebraska,
and I play center defender.
[crowd cheering]
Paige she knows the league,
and she's just such a pro.
My name's Vanessa Gilles.
I'm from Ottawa,
Ontario, in Canada.
I play center back.
Vanessa is an Olympic
Gold Medalist.
She is the best
defender in the world.
Every single player
There's an element
of, like, just
excitement for them.
But Christen is the
number-one forward,
world-class level,
and, obviously,
she's from L.A., too.
Hometown hero Christen Press
was the first to sign
on to Angel City.
Christen Press
Her 49th goal for her country.
When I thought about Angel City,
I really thought about the
opportunity to create change.
This is proof of concept.
This is proof that
the business works.
It's proof that, you
know, we're not doing it
just so that your daughters
have a role model.
You go into this business
because you can make money
and you can be successful.
First day, let's go!
[indistinct chatter]
- Good morning ♪
- Wow.
Not a lot of people
get to experience this,
so this is dope.
[indistinct chatter]
We wanted to give our players
the safety and comfort
that you're Angel City, and
we're gonna invest in you.
And they're not gonna be traded.
No matter what, we're
betting on each other.
I want to start off
by saying thank you
for choosing Angel City.
And I promise you that,
you know, we do not plan
to do any exit trades in 2022.
We're here. This is
it. This is the team.
We're gonna win,
we're gonna lose,
we're gonna have
difficult moments,
and what that means is
we're gonna coach
our way out of it.
We're gonna play
our way out of it.
We're not gonna trade
our way out of it.
I was coming into a league
that just didn't
really care about
how players had control
over their own destiny.
And I'd been that
player who's been traded
after begging an
owner not to trade me.
And I will never forget
how that made me feel.
One of the things I admired
the most from Angel City
coming in that first day
was Eni saying that this club
will not be waiving players
or trading players unless it's
something the player wants.
And for a club to say that
is a very, very big deal.
Every single contract this
season was guaranteed
Every single person's.
So that's huge.
That is, like, so different
from any other experience
that players would have.
And there's a good
and a bad to that.
On the negative side,
it locks your roster,
so you can't make changes,
and in this league, if
every other team is able
to trade and make midseason
moves and you're not,
I think that puts you
at a disadvantage.
Everyone here has had
different experiences
within clubs
Positive, negative
But everyone has got
a blank slate here.
There's an opportunity
here for everyone
to cement themselves
on this roster
and be part of this group.
I'm not gonna sugarcoat it.
This is our goal.
This is what we can achieve.
And I am 100% confident
that we can do that.
[indistinct chatter]
Love it.
Welcome to day one.
[scattered cheers] Yes!
All right.
It's not all just about
kicking soccer balls.
It's about so much
more than that.
We are so committed
to building a future
for this sport for
the next generation.
We've come from
winning environments,
and we have these big ambitions,
and we want to win games,
and we want to
win championships.
With all the investment and
the hype around Angel City,
I felt a responsibility,
not just to the club
but to the community,
and I think our whole
team felt that way.
Preseason day one,
like, the home opener
We all, like, had
stamped on our calendars
like, all right, guys, we
got this amount of days
until, like, we really
have to show up.
Like, everyone wants
to see us play.
It's gonna be an
amazing opportunity.
And it's been a long journey
for me personally.
The summer before my senior
year at North Carolina,
my mom was in the
hospital in Seattle,
and I got a call saying,
"Paige, you need to come
to Seattle right away."
My mom actually passed
when we all got there.
My mentor, the North
Carolina soccer coach
I was like, "Man, what do I do?
"Do I financially free myself
'cause my mom never had that?
Or do I go after my dream?"
And he was like, "Well,
what would Kathy do?"
That was her name.
And I was like, "Why am I
even thinking about this?
Of course I'm gonna
take this soccer job."
I passed up a six-figure job
at Bank of America to do this.
And so I'm in it.
[indistinct shouting]
- Look at our team.
- I know.
Get in, get in!
[indistinct shouting]
- Look what we did.
- I mean, look at this!
Yeah! [both laugh]
- I know all the players
from other teams, right?
- Yeah.
- So, as I look at players
right now, I'm thinking,
that's Cari Roccaro
from North Carolina,
or that's Jas
Spencer from Houston.
And over time, they're gonna,
like, assimilate and become
- Angel City.
- Yeah.
Just takes time,
right? [laughter]
So I asked our director of
statistics and analytics,
what are our chances of
making it to the playoffs?
I mean, you've
analyzed all the teams.
And they said to me, "Well,
don't expect too much,
because expansion teams never,
never make it to the playoffs."
And I was like, "What's
an expansion team?"
Because I literally
know that little.
And so they explained to
me that an expansion team
is a new team to the league,
And that they never, never
make it to the playoffs
in their first season.
[shouting, cheering]
So there's 12 teams in the NWSL.
Being an expansion team, where
everyone's brought together,
it's gonna take time,
but once you can establish that
team that trusts each other,
that's when you get the success.
Cheers to friendship.
Get your fucking muffin in here.
What did the eggs say
at the house party
after a couple of tequila shots?
- You don't know?
- Uh
You're not gonna give a
guess like Dani tried?
I don't want to
embarrass myself.
- [clears throat]
- [laughs]
"I'm lit!" [laughter]
[indistinct chatter]
Having a strong
defensive foundation
is what most teams
will look to build,
and that's their starting point.
And unfortunately for us
first day, you
know, we had a lot
of illnesses and injury.
First day of preseason,
and we're having lunch,
and Paige sits down
at my table, and she says, like,
"Look at my arm.
It looks so funny."
She's like, "Oh, yeah,
I'm just gonna go home
and see if it gets worse."
And I'm like, "You have
to go to the hospital."
- And it turns out that
she has a rare condition
that led to the
clotting in her arm.
And, you know, she had
to go in for a surgery
and ended up having
a rib removed
so that she can
increase the blood flow.
[weakly] I am in so much pain.
I'm singing
Every breath you take ♪
Every move you make ♪
Every single
minute I'm fucked ♪
She was really excited about
coming into this new team
and having a new start
and then had such a
debilitating injury
that just really put her back.
It's gonna take months to
build the neck muscles.
It was, like, substantial
in terms of what
happened in that moment,
and it was also a huge
hit to our roster.
That certainly made
it challenging for us
in our backline, and
we had to put players
in different positions
that they weren't
probably used to
or recruited to.
- Did your car get towed?
- [chuckles]
- Needed gas.
- What?
- Just needed gas.
- Again?
Yeah. [laughs]
Did you hear this?
She just need to gas again.
Why are we talking
into camera? [laughs]
'Cause once is embarrassing.
Twice is just I
don't even know what
I don't even there's not
even a right adjective for that.
Growing up with
Julie, and as a twin,
we both played basketball.
We both went to business school.
We both went to MBA school.
I mean, there's a lot of
things that are similar.
- Whoo-hoo. 95%.
- Yep.
I've been listening
to the Angel City dream
for two years, right?
And she's like, "Amy, like,
can you come in? I need help."
I said yes, and the
next thing I knew,
I had meetings on my
schedule for Tuesday.
We have 14,200
season-ticket holders.
Like, if game day is not good,
those are at risk of being lost.
Days until the regular
season home opener 46.
Whoo-hoo! [banging table]
Then again, like,
minus two weeks
because of all the stuff
that needs to get done.
You're not gonna stress me out.
It's not gonna happen.
Guys, everybody close your eyes.
Seriously. Okay.
You sit down, right?
Lights go out.
We've got some Angel
City chant going.
We're gonna teach
the Three Clap.
Ball's gonna land,
they're gonna see
that they're all women.
We'll announce who they are.
Some amazing group of kids
are gonna come out and sing,
and we're all gonna be
like, "Oh, that's so cute.
Look how amazing."
Then at which point,
everyone's looking up,
and, oh, my God,
you know, we've got
these people flying
from the sky,
pink smoke, and then the
players are gonna come out,
and people are gonna cry 'cause
our players are on the field.
Then ball will get kicked, and
people will still be crying.
And, you know, then we'll
score goals and win.
I'm gonna make sure you
have waterproof mascara.
- Yeah.
- She's not wearing any.
Wasn't what we wanted, but
it was I mean, it was
No, I mean, I'm guess
Well, I mean, was it, like,
worse than we thought
it was gonna be,
or just it was what we
thought it was gonna be?
I thought it was better than
what I was anticipating,
but, I mean, it's just
not our ideal, right?
- Right.
- We're just trying
to make sure it's not
impacting performance
or anything like that for
the players on the field.
My role is the logistics
The travel, the
training facilities.
I don't think I necessarily
knew what the challenges
of an expansion team really were
until I came into this
organization and club.
But definitely having
a personal experience
as a professional
athlete, I thought
training facility was, you
know, the top priority.
We evaluated a lot of
different locations,
facilities, and we
wound up landing
at Cal Lutheran University,
with a partnership with
the Los Angeles Rams.
Come on, let's get in
the corner. Come on.
So you don't have to
start back on there.
Like, start here, if
that's gonna help you.
There you go.
Can we do that first time so
we can get the timing, Annie?
Hey, guys, we need to make
sure that they've got ball
One of the biggest challenges
that we have been facing
is just, like,
field availability.
So we're now sharing a field
with, like, the
Super Bowl champs.
So, obviously, they
get what they want.
So that's been difficult.
Also, we don't get to start
training till, like, 2:15 p.m.
in the California heat.
I just think with Angel City,
there is kind of the sense
of people are coming into
the space not knowing it,
and they're learning.
[dramatic music]

Not having that training
space from day one,
it does kind of
feel like a startup.

You see how you're
backpedaling so much?
- Yeah.
- Just need to be able
to go there.
Shift the hips back.
Oh, yeah, watch
your flapping wings.
Can we do the groin squeeze?
Head over, Vanessa, Maia.
How do your hips feel today?
My role is to optimize player
health and performance.
I know it's everyone's
favorite morning wake-up.
When you get to this level,
there's this little bit
of difference between peak,
you know, or elite performance.
And we're trying to
find that difference.
All right. Ready?
- Yep.
- And go for it.
I was the first full-time
female strength and
conditioning coach
within Major League
Soccer on the men's side.
Your name
On the men's side of things,
money was not a constraint.
Anything that you can
think of that would help,
they will have it.
And in order to be able
to do these things
You know, took blood
work, we did jump testing,
we did all these tests
on a regular basis.
To have that support and
be to able to do that,
you need money.
So maybe you are.
You can just get down lower.
We're athletes, and we want
to have the environment
that's the most conducive
for us to be successful.
But you realize
how much work goes into
having a training facility,
having a weight room,
and having things that
are soccer-specific
and not being in
You can't just, like,
go to LA Fitness
and, like, get a proper lift in.
Like, that's not [laughs]
I mean, you could, but it's not
what male athletes
have to deal with.
So the balls for my tens now
need to be super precise!
The timing is crucial!
In soccer, at the
professional level,
it's those details that matter.
It's those inches,
those centimeters
that separate the good players
from the great players.
I loved my time in Portland,
but towards the end,
it just felt like it
was time for me to go.
Having a club that,
like, wants you
and wants to invest in you,
I think was something that
was so important to me
and also very exciting.
When we talk about setting
higher expectations,
it really does come
down to investment
to really elevate
the performance.
And we also wanted
to pay players more.
So we created a program
where each one of our players
would get a percentage of all
ticket sales of our games.
Ultimately, we have to
change the economic model,
which means we need to drive
the revenue aspect of the sport.
It's over there. [laughs]
- All right, we're
gonna start here.
We don't have a
jersey or not yet?
Well, you're gonna
get to see this.
- We're gonna surprise you.
- Oh, just kidding!
- Yeah.
- Oh, my God!
Classic reaction video.
So you're gonna open the box
- To there?
- Yeah, to the camera.
This is I'm really
nervous. [laughing]
Oh, my God. It's so pretty.
"Volemos." Oh,
my God, sprouts.
It's, like, kind of tough.
I wouldn't want to
be against this team,
like, on the field.
[laughs] I'd be
like, oh, my God.
- [screams]
- Oh, my God!
You didn't tell me
you work on this team.
Your most valuable
asset is your logo
on the front of your kit.
Being a new team, we
didn't have any data
to back up the value
that we wanted for.
Do one. [camera
shutter clicks]
So we went to an agency,
and we asked them
the traditional questions of,
what should we be
charging for front-of-kit?
And they came back and said,
"We think you should get
a million dollars."
Wow. A million
dollars was lower
than any jersey valuation I
had seen on the men's team,
regardless of their scale.
These are men's teams
that might be selling
5,000 jerseys, 10,000 jerseys,
and knowing our goal was
to sell 30,000 jerseys.
- [squeals]
- So we went back and said,
"No, you actually need to get
to a multimillion-dollar
number for us."
We went out and sold our
front-of-kit to DoorDash
for an eight-figure deal.
"A whole fresh start."
'Cause we have incredible
ownership group
of celebrities and athletes
that are gonna drive
the value of this.
Women spend 80% of
consumer spending.
We, for the first time, have
brought in women's fashion,
women's shoes, women's liquor,
I mean, your mind can go crazy
with what's possible there,
so the sky's the limit for us.
And it's not just about making
money, but it's impact
Where 10% of our revenue
goes back into the community.
That community impact
It is important to us,
and it's a lens with
which we make decisions,
and it's how we build
our organization.
[indistinct chatter]
- I didn't want to bother you.
- Hi!
Two, two, two! Pass, yes.
I'm gonna post on my Gram.
In 2019, I saw the U.S.
Women's National
in Paris.
It was packed I mean,
loud, packed crowd.
Low one, and all the way in!
Dream start for
the United States!
And I'm like, damn,
this is a great product.
And I was aware of Rapinoe.
I was aware of Morgan. I
was aware of Press, right?
I was aware of these superstars
who had already
transcended the sport.
And I looked at my
buddy, and I'm like,
"Dude, why can I watch
these women in the U.S.?"
And he's like, "Dude,
it's called the NWSL."
And I was like, "What?"
How do I know the players
and I don't even know
the sport exists?
Something is broken.
Skills. Feet.
- My feet? Oh.
- Yeah!
What a touch!
There was a reason I
stopped at ninth grade.
Let's see it.
- Oh, watch out, it's coming.
- Aw.
Aw, a little fast.
The funny moment
And this is true
Olympia's running around.
We're at the house.
She's running around
in her little jersey.
We're watching the final.
And like any dad,
I'm like, "Oh wouldn't be
great one day if Olympia played
for the Women's National Team?
And without missing a beat,
Serena is like, "Not until
they pay her what she's worth."
And I looked at her,
and I said, "Okay,
challenge accepted."
- Oh, my gosh. Hi.
- You came all this way. DiDi.
Hi, DiDi. Both:
Nice to meet you.
- Paige.
- Howdy, Paige.
Oh, my God. Nice to
finally meet you.
Yeah, thanks for coming out.
Oh, man, thank you
for I don't know
Just believing in this crazy
thing and joining aboard.
It wasn't hard.
I mean, no pressure,
but y'all get to, I
think, set a precedent
for a lot of people.
[camera shutter clicks]
And once you see the
product on the pitch
and once you see this greatness,
you're like damn, how
much poorer our world is
as a result of great
ideas and great talent
that never got to be showcased.

I remember being told
"Alexis, don't do it.
No one cares about
women's sports."

Hearing it as often as I did,
God, I almost believed it
for half a second, because
it was so prominent.

Yes, I screenshot a
lot of these tweets.
Yes, I do save them.
I do that because I am petty
and also because
there is so much of
this great energy
in women's sports right now,
and I love fueling
that rocket ship.
Ready? Go.
I personally have
never had any interest
in coming to the NWSL,
'cause I was in France playing,
and in Europe, it's
just a football culture
and you're immersed.
I remember seeing, like,
rumors on Instagram,
and, "Natalie Portman
is gonna be involved,
and it's gonna be woman-led."
So I think the more I
heard about Angel City,
the more I wanted to
be part of that change.
And my agent was like,
"Yeah, they sent in an offer.
Like, they're
actually interested."
That was the same week the
coach at North Carolina
ended up getting
fired and investigated
for a whole bunch of
[chuckles] Accusations.
And that was going on in
the league that whole week.
Like, everything was
coming out during that week
in terms of, like, sexual abuse
and manipulation
and mental abuse.
Tonight the world of
professional women's soccer
is turned upside down.
- An investigation
by The Athletic
sent a seismic shock
through women's soccer.
[dramatic music]

Before I got involved,
these two players try
to email the league,
and they do it independently.
So they both sent
their own emails
to the league's general counsel
and the league's
commissioner at the time,
and that commissioner
was Lisa Baird.
And, to be fair, neither
one of the players
said, you know,
"Here's our entire"
They're not about to say, like,
"Let me trauma-dump on
you via email," right?
"Please call me. We
will talk through.
We have information that
we think you should have."
The response from the
league is essentially,
"Thank you, but, no, thanks."

that's the only reason
why the story went public.
The league posted a statement.
Later on that day, Alex
Morgan posts the screenshots
of Lisa Baird's full
response to the two of them.

For people really being
able to see the whole thing
and to have that sense
of, "If I'm a player
"with this trauma
that I've gone through
"who is trying to
prevent something
"to try to share that experience
and then to get
that as a response,"
that was really, really tough
for a lot of people to stomach.

We're talking about
ten years, you know, of
my personal experience
with all of the
misconduct that went on.
I was in a entirely abusive
and unsafe environment
my rookie season in the WPS.
We were intentionally made
to feel that using our voices
could end the league
and the league could
fold and it was fragile.
I think that was also
a silencing mechanism.
[whistle blows]
We were tired of all
of these men being able
to be in power and taking
advantage of players.
When they turn a blind eye,
they just don't care
[scoffs] To be frank.
[cheers and applause]
And so it took brave
women, brave players
to come forward and demand more
and for all of us to rally
together and support them
and to force more
from the league.
[somber music]
The third game of the night
and the third time
in the sixth minute
the players come
together at midfield.
And if this isn't
a "shut up and listen to
these players" moment,
I don't really know what is.
I'm devastated, disgusted,
but I'm not shocked,
and that's the problem.
The NWSL never had
a collective-bargaining
and so there were no rights.
There was no
anti-harassment policy
I mean, all these simple
guidelines they didn't have.
No minimum pay. It was
just, like, $5,000.
When you aren't
being paid enough,
you can't afford
to lose your job.
Why would you ever speak up?
Why would you ever fight?
And I'm happy to say that
Jessica Berman coming in
as a commissioner is
gonna be signing the first
collective-bargaining agreement.
It's important for them
to have a seat at the table,
which was what you get
with a collective-bargaining
One of the big things
that came out of this
is players realizing
there's a power
in the collective voice.
They were very shaped
also by Angel City
coming into the league
and offering this path of,
there is a different way.
We are here looking
out for the players.
The players will be protected.
The players are
front and center.
They are the shiny
new kids on the block.
And there is this
sense of, okay
we want to show the NWSL that
there's maybe another path.

- So here, here, here, here.
- Yeah, so we all just cross
Jun, I just wanted to connect
ahead of the game tomorrow.
Gonna start tomorrow on the
right side as a forward.
[speaking Japanese]
When the ball goes into
this player in here
[speaking Japanese]
- The nine is going to press.
- [speaking Japanese]
How is life in general?
[speaking Japanese]
Anything that you need for
me before the game tomorrow?
[speaking Japanese] Yeah.
She said she's okay.
[energetic music
playing on speakers]
- The Challenge
Cup is a tournament
that's kind of a way to
get games under our belts
before season happens.
[excited chatter]
- Thank you!
- You're awesome.
I think that's the team
bus. That's the players!
- They're waving, yes.
- They're waving!
[drumming, crowd chanting]
Look at the
supporters back there.
[drumming continues]
all: Vamos, Angel
City! Venimos a ganar!
Vamos, Angel City!
Venimos a cantar!
Vamos, Angel City
You have the investors. You
have the ownership group.
You have the supporters.
Everything is coming
together. It's looking great.
Now you have the preseason.
They're playing another
expansion team
San Diego Wave.
They want to create
a rivalry, of course,
between the two teams.
There was a lot of pressure
going into the first
game of the preseason.
You know, there was definitely
different displays of nerves
from different players
within the group.
[dramatic music]

Hey, hey, hey ♪
[crowd cheering]
Those are our players.
- I'm gonna cry.
- I know.
"Hey, Julie, we have this idea
to start a woman's soccer team.
What do you think?"
For the first game, we show
up in Cal State Fullerton
Over 7,000 fans.
Yeah, it's incredible.
It's been absolutely
devastating to hear
some of the experiences
of women who've
been in this sport
and only motivates us more
to want to change things
and create a new model.
[rhythmic drumming,
fans chanting]
[whistle blows]
There's the whistle,
and away we go!
An historic start
for both Angel City
and San Diego Wave.
[indistinct shouting]

[crowd groans]

all: Angel City!

Roccaro moves it
wide to the left.
Now the cross comes back in.
Header is down and in!
Savannah McCaskill strikes!
It's the first goal
for Angel City!
To be able to score the
first goal was pretty cool.
Wish we would've won
that game, but
San Diego come back level!
And it's the first
goal for the Wave
McCaskill's goal canceled
out by Kaleigh Riehl,
salvages a point for
San Diego Wave tonight.

You guys, first away game!
- Baby!
- I know.
- This is it. This
is impressive.
This is the standard, I think,
and we're obviously trying
to push that standard
even further, so
awesome, awesome.
[crowd cheering]
Let's go, ACFC!
[crowd cheering, person shouts]
Get there, nice! Here we go!
Well done.
My job is recruitment of players
and managing
performance of the team.
Get in the box.
In building this team, the
big part of the strategy
was to really be
solid defensively.
Well played, Jassy!
Now we've had a bit
of an injury crisis.
I mean, I've never
been part of a team
that had four defenders
injured at the same time.
Smith, all the way!
[crowd cheering]
There were some problems that
they had out of the gate,
and they don't seem
to have a style,
and they don't seem
to have a chemistry,
and they don't seem to mesh.
I really thought this was
gonna be just a long season.
Portland Thorns
with a comprehensive
three-goal, three-point
And Providence Park
rocking tonight.

- I think with the type
of player that you are,
the position that you are,
it behooves us to do this
the absolute right way.
- Yeah.
- It's more of the
Can you take an impact?
If you take an impact,
how do you respond to it?
On opening day, I don't
think I'll be able to play,
because my PT is worried
about my strength,
still, in my left arm.
And go. Awesome.
- Ooh.
- Yeah. That looks about right.
My wife is coming next weekend.
It's a huge move for her.
She's been in D.C.
for five years.
She's like, "Oh, gosh, you
can basically get traded
or move in a year."
And I'm like, "That's
not what I want to do,
and you have to believe
in my path and my career."
And she's like, "Okay."
It's just a super-fast
I just feel a lot of
pressure sometimes.
Yeah, this is really
[rhythmic drumming,
fans chanting]
all: The mighty ACFC!
- Will history be made
today in San Diego?
We'll see. Both of these clubs
looking for the first wins.
[crowd cheering]
We're just a few
weeks into the season
and, really, Angel
City's existence.
What's the next
level of production
you'd like to see
your team unlock?
We've got a long way
to go, obviously.
We've learned some brutal
lessons these last two games,
but those are the things
that are gonna prepare
us for this season.
It's really important for
us to have a big response.
Oh, oh ♪
Hey, hey ♪

The header! [crowd cheering]
Jodie Taylor coming through!
Taylor trying to hunt
it down Morgan!

[cheers and applause]
Christen Press equalizes
for Angel City!

Corner kick.
Corner kick number 562.

Morgan has another!
Are you kidding?
Ali now on this near
side, cuts inside,
Gilles couldn't get to it.
Ali, the four-time All-American!
San Diego, it's
time to celebrate.
First win in franchise history.
Alex Morgan, two
goals on the day
in the 4-2 win.
[all chanting] FC!
You all right?
Oh, it was tough.
I know. You're working
your heart out.
- You're tired.
- Ugh. It's so frustrating.
This is a fucking "in
the trenches" moment.
Isn't it? It's "in
the trenches" moment.
But we can't You
know, what we gonna do?
'Cause that wasn't acceptable
by any stretch of
the imagination,
and we all know that.
They've seen that
we can't defend,
and they've just gone
Let's put us under pressure.
If we do the same thing
to them, it's different
because we don't
have the forwards
that are gonna compete.
We don't have the forwards
that are gonna compete?
In the air if we go
direct and drill it at them,
none of our front three
are gonna win a header
or a battle
No, but that's why you
put it in behind them.
We asked them to When
they play a high line,
for us to put the
ball in direct.
That's the instruction.
Like, I can only give
them that instruction,
and when they drop off, like
As long as it's the instruction,
'cause that's what I'm seeing.
I can only tell you
what I'm seeing, Freya,
and the rest of it's up
to you and the players.
I know it's preseason,
I know we're building,
but you don't want to develop
a habit of losing more
than three in a row.
You know, I'm not the coach.
If I wanted to be the coach,
I would've interviewed
for the coach job.
I'm not the coach.
But, you know, I
built the team now,
and I don't have much
say on the field, right?
Like, I can influence,
and I can speak to
the coaches and say,
"Have you thought about
this, thought about that?"
But ultimately,
it's their decision.
[fans cheering loudly]
I know. I know.
But they know it, too.
- You look sharp as hell.
- I know, I told her
- She looks very smart.
- You look very smart.
Hey, hey, hey ♪

My lungs are filled
with fatigue.
Yeah. How many minutes
till we're back?
I'm really excited to get back.

This is Christen. This
is where we want her.
This is where she's
been most effective.
- Yes, yes.
- You see there
Driving up plays.
Yeah, no, I get that.
You know, to be a starter
and to be a starter in L.A.,
it requires something
very different.
And we're gonna find
out, staff and players,
over the next few
months, like, frankly,
who's got the minerals.
[indistinct chatter]
I think right now we're
kind of at a crossroads,
in that the Challenge
Cup is coming to an end,
and we know that
season is starting,
but we also know that
we haven't really worked
on everything that
we need to work on.
Like, we aren't exactly
a team quite yet.
[indistinct chatter]
Losing sucks.
In terms of where the team's at,
that's been a huge frustration,
and, you know, the
team can feel it,
and it's nine days away
from our home opener.
[dramatic music]
Guys, this is when it matters.
When we're fatigued,
nobody talks.
Precisely when we have to talk,
'cause we're just
getting played through,
and nobody's saying,
"Stop, shift."
Everybody's on their island.
We have to communicate.

We have some elite
people on the team.
We have World Cup winners.
We have Olympic gold medalists.
And to pull people together
and not have it going the
way they want it to go
is really, really tough.
But it's brick by brick.
Every day we must come
in and lay a brick.
And if the weather is
bad, we lay another brick.
And if the result goes
bad, we lay another brick
and hopefully drive the culture
that our women every day
want to lay bricks, too.
Hey, hey ♪
Ahh ♪
Uh-huh ♪
Ahh ♪
Uh-huh ♪
Baby, break a
sweat, break a sweat ♪
Baby, break a sweat ♪
Don't get tired yet ♪
Tired yet, don't
get tired yet ♪
Baby, break a
sweat, break a sweat ♪
Baby, break a sweat ♪
Keep on doing it, doing it ♪
Keep on doing it ♪


Baby, break a sweat ♪

Oh, yeah ♪
Ah ♪
Baby, break a sweat ♪
[bright tone]
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