Natalie Portman In Talks With Ryan Reynolds for ‘Friendly’ Match Between Their Soccer Teams – During the premiere of her new docuseries, Angel City, which documents the growth of her professional women’s soccer team based in Los Angeles, Angel City Football Club, Natalie Portman spoke to ET about the possibility of a “friendly” soccer match between her team and Wrexham AFC Women, which is owned by Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney.
Portman expressed her readiness to take on Reynolds’ team on the field. “I’ve been lucky enough to talk to him about his journey, and he’s so inspirational for what he’s done with Wrexham, and they have a women’s team also,” Portman said of Reynolds. “So, we have talked about kind of having some friendly matches at some point.” With the assistance of various supporters, including co-owners Eva Longoria, Mia Hamm, and Serena Williams, among others, Portman played a significant role in founding the league.
The journey towards establishing the league was arduous, and Portman, who is now 41 and stars in Thor: Love and Thunder, disclosed that she encountered numerous rejections before receiving the ultimate approval. Nevertheless, she remained resolute and persevered, primarily due to her belief in the team and the world-class athletes who are part of it.
“It was incredible to get the support from all of those friends and it was, it was really moving when people came on board, because it wasn’t obvious, and we got a lot of no’s before we got yes’.” “And I feel like I didn’t realize what a big lift it was, and that might have stopped me from doing it if I understood how hard it was going to be,” She explained. Portman continued, “I feel lucky that I had that kind of ignorance or optimism that, of course, this will all work out. I believed in it so much.”
“I believed in it because these players are the best players in the world, and it’s the most popular sport in the world and I thought, ‘there’s no way that you don’t provide greater accessibility, and this isn’t the biggest hit.” Angel City F.C. made an impact by securing eighth place during their debut season in the Nation Women’s Soccer League in 2022. This achievement is highlighted in the HBO Max documentary, set to release on May 16. Additionally, their approach has inspired female-led teams in other cities to follow in their footsteps. “That’s been the most exciting thing.”
“We want to share out playbook so that other people can learn from what we did well and what mistakes we made and have a foot forward when they do their own endeavors to build teams,” she gushed. “And we’re seeing it already being replicated in other cities, not replicated but taking kind of certain aspects of our model and then adapting it to their own cities. So, that’s been really exciting to see.” The actress has introduced the sport to her two children, Aleph, 12, and Amalia, 6, and the team has also been a source of inspiration for her family.
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“The best is seeing all the kids of all genders being rabid fans of these women. I think that that’s the dream,” Portman said. “I mean, clearly, female athletes are so important for girls to see, but it’s also important for all kids to see female athletes. As a girl growing up, I idolized male athletes. Like, we shouldn’t only be able to identify with people who look like us.” She added, “Greatness is something that we can admire and aspire to, no matter what form it comes in.”