LeBron James owns a piece of another Premier League team, Liverpool Football Club, but a good number of other American players are investing close to home. Matthew McConaughey has seized the opportunity to purchase Austin FC, one of Major League Soccer’s newest franchises. He’s even the club’s “Culture Secretary”—a position whose responsibilities include, in McConaughey’s own words, “sticking to the DNA of who we are and why we love Austin.” He can be seen banging the drum on the sidelines of home matches.
Natalie Portman, Jennifer Garner, Kevin Durant, Serena Williams, Will Ferrell, James Harden, Jessica Chastain, Ciara, Russell Wilson, Naomi Osaka, Magic Johnson, Drew Carey, Mia Hamm, Oscar De La Hoya, Marshawn Lynch, Diplo, Christina Aguilera Alex Ovechkin, Kate Upton, Eva Longoria, Tony Robbins and countless others have joined McConaughey in turning “The Beautiful Game” into the most attractive investment for celebrities.
It’s no surprise that football collides with celebrities anywhere like it does in Los Angeles. Will Ferrell — a hardcore footballer married to a former college player — co-owns the Los Angeles MLS club with Magic Johnson, Mia Hamm, her husband Nomar Garciaparra, Tony Robbins, a YouTube co-founder and a host of other people who’ve made a brick of money. Ferrell maintains a low profile in home games, letting his wardrobe do the talking. He often wears a pair of lucky gold pants or a shirt featuring the club’s chief of security – a fan favorite at Bank of California.
For many celebrities, football offers a unique opportunity to invest in strong women – like the women we’ve seen transcend the sports world and emerge as well-meaning stars and role models. This is America. We like to be number one. And if our men’s national team has yet to dominate the world stage, our women have shown the greatness of dynasties since the opening of the Women’s World Cup in 1991.
Natalie Portman helped found the Angel City women’s national soccer team after hearing that Abby Wambach — a generational talent, two-time gold medalist, and World Cup champion — needed a job. Unlike Peyton Manning or Kobe Bryant, the 2016 ESPYs Icon award winners, Wambach didn’t retire with a bunch of zeros in her bank account. Portman reached out to venture capitalist Kara Nortman in hopes of joining forces to bring professional women’s soccer to Los Angeles. Portman and Nortman, the newest and most powerful couple in Hollywood, have enlisted the likes of Serena Williams, Jessica Chastain, Christina Aguilera, America Ferrera, Gabrielle Union, Jennifer Garner, Rachel Zoe, Jay Shetty and Alexis Ohanian. Angel City FC will play its first-ever game at Bank of California on April 29. Wambach has also joined the group as it continues to push for higher salaries, better working conditions and 401(k) plans to enable these athletes to retire comfortably the way their male counterparts work. It is fitting that Billie Jean King, the sporting world’s greatest pioneer of gender equality, sits alongside Wambach at the Angel Club’s angel box.
Even those already bidding for Chelsea are ignorant of when the next owner will be named. Update this week? An official announcement then? Any day now I hope to know whether or not I will join the lucky few as the owner of a professional football team. Or if we’re being honest, whether or not I join the close friends of those above who never really made it into their pockets, but will continue the journey. Whoever is allowed to exceed an amount expected to exceed Liberia’s GDP to buy a football team, I will celebrate or mourn accordingly. By this time next week, my dream might have come true. Or maybe I wander aimlessly through the streets crying in the rain. While some billionaire has my umbrella.
More great stories from Vanity Fair
How Princess Diana’s journalistic strategy affected William and Harry
– Dynasty: The year that changed the monarchy
– Johnny Depp trial – Amber Heard: How did you get to this?
The rich are rotten in the rotten age
Prince Andrew really can’t stop himself
– 11 new books to read in April
Will Smith banned from the Oscars for 10 years after the slap
– Susan Cain, Principal Introvert, Ventures Into the Sublime
From the archive: How did Johnny Depp find himself in a money pit?
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