Football – Schulte’s Adventures in the USA: Angel City Women’s Club for Women – Sports

LOS ANGELES (AP) – World attendance records in Barcelona, ​​well-stocked stadiums in Wolfsburg or Munich and an upcoming European Championship in England with the prospect of full stands with tens of thousands of fans – women’s football is booming.

Joy about good timing is especially great in California, because this is where the next big project is about to begin: Angel City FC. The future employer of national goalkeeper Almuth Schulte, who is moving from Wolfsburg to the USA after the European Championship, will start his first NWSL season on Friday night (local time) with a home game against Los Angeles. sky line.

Founded and financed mostly by women, the team has sold 15,000 season tickets, more than some men’s teams from Major League Soccer. The club can also count on the support of celebrities, who are hailed on every Hollywood red carpet. Actress Natalie Portman is one of the three founders and largely responsible for the entire venture. Her colleagues Jessica Chastain, Jennifer Garner and Eva Longoria are among the 40 investors currently listed on Home, as are sports greats Lindsey Vonn and Candice Parker. Also present: Mia Hamm, Abby Wambach and twelve former American players.

“Women’s football has been seen as a risk so far. Now it’s more like this: if you invest, you get a lot of money. A lot,” sporting director Eniola Aluko of dpa said after the last team game at Challenger. The Trophy, a competition used in the NFL Cup.

Humility and ambition can coexist.

The Portland Thorns’ 1-0 win on Sunday night wasn’t just the team’s first win in a competitive game, but it was so much more. “Isn’t that a great message for the league? Angel City beat Portland,” co-founder Julie Orman exclaimed gleefully after happily hugging Aluko’s neck. After all, Portland was the best team in the last major role. “It feels so much better than the alternatives. So much better.” She lost four of her previous five group matches, in addition to a 1-1 draw.

Aluko said the win was “tremendous” for the euphoria and self-confidence of the team. “It’s very, very important.” She formulated her first season predictions as follows: “You go in every game to win. But so many other teams have been playing together for ten years, building something for ten years, signing players.” Since you don’t have to queue up after promotion until you reach the first division like in Europe, but buy yourself into the US system as a new team, the team is new in the truest sense of the word. But “humility and ambition can coexist.”

Because even if Angel City wanted to do a lot differently and required sponsors, for example, to invest ten percent of their commitment in projects for the local audience: in a city like Los Angeles with two NFL football teams, two NBA basketball teams , two representatives in Major League Baseball, as well as regional college teams, two football teams in Major League Soccer, the new team can assert itself in the public eye only if it succeeds.

Aluko on Schulte: “He needs players like her”

“Angel City are trying to build something that has more meaning than just football,” Aluko said. “But for that to work, you have to have a good football team. It has to exist together.” “We have to be a brand that helps and understands the community – but we also have to make sure we bring in the players who will take us to the next level, like Almuth.”

Schulte is still watching developments over the next two or three months from afar and does not want to comment further on the reasons for Wolfsburg’s move to the USA before the end of the season in Europe. In the tournament and in the DFB, Wolves are the favorites, but in the Champions League they need a feel in the second leg against Barcelona on Saturday (6pm) after 1:5 in the first leg.

The anticipation in Los Angeles for the national player is already palpable. “She’s fantastic,” Aluko said. “We need players like her who respect the dressing room right away. She won everything: the Olympics, the Champions League, the European Championship.” Ideally, Schulte could also call herself the American Champion before the end of her one-year contract with the option of another season in the NWSL.

© dpa-infocom, dpa: 220427-99-60978 / 2

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