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Don’t let outside factors stop you from supporting LA’s new NWSL team

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Check your other loyalties at the door as you help build something cool.

SOCCER: OCT 07 NWSL - Orlando Pride at Portland Thorns FC Photo by Diego Diaz/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Los Angeles will have an NWSL team starting in 2022. The team, currently called Angel City FC, possibly subject to change, features a wide range of owners, enough to stock a squad of players themselves, and a bunch of them are former U.S. Women’s National Team players, so they’ve got game, too.

I know a lot of folks locally are very excited about this team, and after waiting nearly a decade for NWSL to come to California, it’s understandable. I’m thrilled this is finally coming together, after it seemed like maybe no one in filthy-rich Southern California actually wanted to do this for so long.

And now, we all need to step up.

A team needs several things to be successful:

  • Dedicated owners (Check!)
  • A good venue
  • A good team
  • A stable league
  • Dedicated fans

That’s where you come in. Do you like soccer? Do you like local soccer? Do you like the U.S. Women’s National Team? Then Angel City FC should be a no-brainer for you to support.

And something that seems to be a prevailing positive with this club is that it is not owned by either MLS team. While many MLS fans were hoping their respective LA team would launch an NWSL team, in the end, that didn’t happen, and the ownership group appears to have deep enough pockets that they don’t need an MLS team running the show after all.

I talked to Angel City FC co-owner and president Julie Uhrman last week, and she spoke of the team being a way to bridge any and all divides for soccer fans in Los Angeles.

“Like the LA Sparks we do not have a rivalry here in Los Angeles, we hope to unite all of the soccer fans to support a women’s professional soccer team here,” she said. “We are an independent ownership group that is building a women’s professional soccer club.”

Listen, that sounds pretty good to me, and it should to you, too.

Since the initial euphoria of the announcement has died away, some fans in Los Angeles have pledged their support to Angel City FC already without taking into account MLS allegiances, if they have any. But some fans are using the NWSL team as a way to engage in a proxy rivalry between the LA Galaxy and LAFC on social media — claiming one MLS team’s fanbase will be “too involved” for them, on the other side, to ever mingle with as fans of one unified team.

If this is you, think really hard about what you’re saying. You’re saying a rivalry between two men’s teams is more important than supporting a single women’s soccer team at all. To me, that smacks of looking for the first possible excuse to turn your back.

If you don’t want to support Angel City FC, no one is making you. But don’t use the team as a way to further fuel the MLS rivalry. Women’s sports get a fraction of the attention they deserve, and based on pure quality, the NWSL features a hell of a lot more World Cup winners than MLS.

I believe it is absolutely possible to unite with fans from a rival MLS team to support the new NWSL team. Do all of your friends support all of the same teams you do? If someone follows the Dodgers and also the Clippers does that invalidate their Dodgers’ fandom? Of course not. So don’t use twisted logic when it comes to NWSL, either.

Above all, Los Angeles has a unique opportunity to help push the NWSL forward, but that will only happen if there is an engaged, inclusive and dedicated supporter base. All of the elements are here, and I know fans of the Galaxy and LAFC alike who are super excited about Angel City FC. If you’re on the fence, you should get in on this on the ground floor. And check your other loyalties at the door while you’re supporting this club.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.