LOS ANGELES — Angel City has been a leader in advancing women’s sports since its inception. They have committed to raising the standards for women’s sports and impacting their local community. They have been first and second among NWSL teams in total attendance in their first two seasons and have put $2 million back into the Los Angeles community. They have also donated over a million meals through their partnership with DoorDash.
“We’ve already put over $2 million of impact in the community, and we’ll have over $5 million of impact in the next couple of years,” said president and co-founder Julie Uhrman to the media on Thursday.
Angel City regularly seeks to inspire female and non-binary youth to play soccer as they raise the standards for women’s soccer at the professional level. They host weekly clinics with Football For Her and give back to the Los Angeles community through many other partnerships.
While Angel City is making such an impact, other NWSL clubs have taken the initiative as well, outpacing them in some areas. One team doing so is the Kansas City Current. They are set to play in their own stadium in 2024 and have trained at their own facility since 2022. On the contrary, Angel City plays at MLS club LAFC’s stadium, BMO Stadium, and practices around 50 miles away at California Lutheran University.
Building a dedicated training facility has been one of Angel City’s goals since the co-founders decided to create the club in 2019, though. Uhrman said the club has been looking for a location, but has found it challenging in Los Angeles. Still, Angel City hopes to build one within two to three years.
“We absolutely have it in the plans to build a dedicated practice and training facility for the players,” Uhrman told The Sporting Tribune. “In fact, we’ve been working on that for the last four years. Finding land is challenging, but it is our goal within the next two to three years to have that built for the players.”
Head coach Becki Tweed understands a training facility is a crucial step the club needs to take. However, she hopes they take enough time to build it to ensure they do not sacrifice its quality.
“It’s something that we know that needs to happen as a club,” Tweed said. “With the geography and the landscape of L.A. [Los Angeles], it’s not the easiest place in the world to gain land or build anything. We know as a club that that is the next step. But this club never wants to do anything in a space where it’s done because we’re being pushed, but we need to do it in an elite way where it becomes leading. It’s more difficult than anywhere else in the world probably. So, just getting that right is really important.”
Tweed believes a training facility should be the standard for women’s sports teams. Each team having one is one of many necessities for reaching the professionalism she thinks should exist. Training facilities allow players to focus on their craft with fewer distractions and limitations.
“Everybody knows that women’s sports need to continue to grow in professionalism, and that’s ultimately the space that everybody is striving to go, and it leaves no excuses,” Tweed said. “It leaves that ‘I didn’t have this or we don’t have this.’ It’s like this is who we are, and you can’t you’ve got to be vulnerable. You’re going to you’re going to find out who people really are because there is a no excuse culture at all. Allowing athletes to be as professional as possible is so important. And they come in, they train, they recover, they lift. Those are things that all women athletes should have access to, and it shouldn’t be a fight.”
Angel City has plans for other advancements as well. One of them is breaking the single-game attendance record. While they finished near or at the top in total attendance in their first two years, OL Reign holds the record for the highest single-game attendance; the Reign had 34,130 fans attend their final home match of the 2023 season, which was Megan Rapinoe’s last regular season home game. The previous record holders were the San Diego Wave, who set it with 32,000 spectators viewing their match against Angel City.
“Yes. We [Angel City] will have the largest record for an NWSL club playing in the U.S.,” Uhrman said.
BMO Stadium’s capacity is well below 34,130 fans, though; it is 22,000, a number Angel City has reached many times. So, Angel City is looking for other venues in Los Angeles to break the record. MLS clubs LAFC and LA Galaxy played at the Rose Bowl in 2023 in front of 82,110 fans, so that site could be an option for Angel City. Other venues like Sofi Stadium and the L.A. Memorial Collesium can also accommodate more than 34,130 thousand fans. Ultimately, the stadium in which Angel City will try to break the record will likely be determined by scheduling.
“We’re working on it,” Uhrman said. “Now, part of it is just scheduling. But it’s something we’re excited [about]. We want to continue to support the growth of women’s sports. We know that more than 22,000 Fans want to come see Angel City. There are a number of venues in Los Angeles that allow that to happen. So we want to take advantage of that soon.”
As Angel City raises standards, other clubs follow, and vice versa. They have building a training facility and setting the single-game attendance record, among other developments, in mind for upcoming years. But as Angel City continues to be a leader in advancement, more could come.