Bombshell news dropped Wednesday, as a report claims the National Women’s Soccer League is in talks with a prospective owner to bring an expansion team to Los Angeles.
The ownership group is reportedly fronted by Julie Uhrman, an entrepreneur based in Santa Monica, and the report from Meg Linehan at The Athletic says one of the two local MLS teams is said to be “involved” in the expansion club, likely as an operating partner.
While both the LA Galaxy and LAFC have claimed some degree of interest in getting involved in NWSL, neither club has yet stepped forward, the league kicking off in 2013. Odds seemed to be greater that LAFC would be the MLS club to be involved in the women’s top flight, with legendary player Mia Hamm in that club’s ownership group.
However, Kevin Baxter of the LA Times reported Wednesday that after checking in with both teams, LAFC issued a denial on Linehan’s report, while the Galaxy refused to comment.
It appears as if the @MLS mystery team @itsmeglinehan says could get involved in the @NWSL expansion franchise is the @LAGalaxy. @LAFC says it absolutely isn't them. @LAGalaxy won't confirm or deny interest https://t.co/J2dYtfQaVj— Kevin Baxter (@kbaxter11) June 17, 2020
Obviously, a no comment is not confirmation, far from it, but in reading the contextual clues, if Linehan’s sources concerning local MLS involvement are accurate, then process of elimination would seem to place the involvement in the Galaxy’s lap.
As an “operating partner,” the Galaxy would likely host games and training for the NWSL team, and perhaps share resources in front office operations, which could include everything from the GM’s roles to communications work to digital and social media work on behalf of a club. Four clubs at present in the NWSL have ties to MLS clubs, and all four share and split those various duties between the clubs in several different ways.
A trademark application has been filed by Uhrman for “Angel City FC,” which fits Los Angeles and has even larger ties to the Galaxy in particular, with a Galaxy supporters group known as the Angel City Brigade.
It’s worth noting that according to the report, a deal is not yet done — we’ve seen reported expansion in California fall apart before, including a bid in Sacramento just last year that seemed to vaporize at the 11th hour. And again, there’s no confirmation yet of which LA MLS team could be involved, in some capacity, in this proposed expansion team.
For my money, what matters is that LA gets a team. It’s been a long wait as we’ve had to sit on the sidelines year after year while teams pop up in new spots. And this state, and Los Angeles in particular, isn’t a backwater — it’s arguably one of the most important places in the country, possibly the world, in developing elite women’s soccer players, some of whom go on to play for the NWSL. Here’s hoping it comes together, and hopefully I’ll see you at a local NWSL game very soon.
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