On match day, we followed the pink and black fans towards the stadium. We were greeted by a huge pink banner welcoming us in large letters to ANGEL CITY FC FAN FEST. It was like any other festival for sports fans, cacophony of vendors spreading across the lawn, releasing their various merchandise and services, stalls for drinks and snacks, DJ playing all the songs you would expect, plenty of places to take cute selfies, including one showing a mini soccer goal and network. My friend and I decided to stand in front of a giant banner with the Angel City logo, as well as the slogans for their sponsors, after we decided the other lines were too long and the mini football net was removed. It’s not a great photo – can any photo taken in front of a giant flat banner with a cell phone be a great photo? – But she’s cute and we look happy. PIC task accomplished.
With that, we made our way inside. In many ways, it was like no other game at the same stadium, which I’ve visited before to watch LAFC. People were buzzing in this direction and in that direction, lining up to get beer, food, goods, and a bath. Before the match, the giant video screens showed us promotional videos. The players are ready on the field. The smell of pizza and nachos wafted through the air, as the stadium lights slowly trickled in and the seats filled with more people, dressed in black and pink, many of them in “Day One” fan scarves the team had given out for season ticket holders. Our seats were behind the visiting team net, which I had forgotten meant we had to keep our heads held high every now and then due to the stray football in the crowd. Through the unscientific system of yelling “Pay attention,” our department made it through warm-ups unscathed and no food dropped (which I saw at least) and no beer spilled.
Then came all the rest of the pomp and circumstance expected of a North American sporting event, plus more because this was the club’s first-ever football match in the regular season. Introduction of the players. the anthem. Submitted by (many) owners who have previously stood for the media on the pink carpet. fireworks. Julie Fode, one of the team’s many investors, instructed the entire crowd on how to do her three-way clapping, which we all did, loud and enthusiastic. Brittany Howard and Tia B. Performing the club’s official anthem, “Running With the Angels,” live with the LA Marching Band. The whole party was big, noisy, exhilarating and gratuitous. Pink and black flags fluttered across the backers section, pink and black scarves littered the horizon, and a giant (and very pink) tifo later followed. Everyone cheered loudly at the command several times.
None of this should be very fancy, as “big”, “high” and “unexplained” are very appropriate adjectives for any North American sporting event. Yet it did.
Like any American institution, you can’t separate women’s professional football from its history, which can be summed up in that a lot of powerful people say they love women’s football but then don’t actually pay women real wages to play football, let alone treat them. Respect and dignity. There is the United Women’s Soccer League, which was folded after three seasons. Then came women’s professional football, which was also folded after three seasons. Now, NWSL, which includes Angel City FC, has been disqualified, and several coaches have been fired so far for abusing players. As ESPN’s Jeff Kassoff noted, half of the league’s coaches from last year have since left their teams due to reports of misconduct.
I went to a WPS soccer game in 2011, shortly after the US women’s national team’s impressive performance at the World Cup that year, and the dreary setup frustrated me to the point that I couldn’t bring myself back (the team we saw was literally called Magic Jack). I’m, and still am, exactly the kind of person women’s professional football should be marketed to: I’m not stressed about money, I grew up in football-mad South Florida, and I’ve watched USWNT my whole life. Convincing me with a little bit of my money to support women’s football shouldn’t be too difficult, however, for whatever reason, the powers that be in American football have, time and time again, somehow managed to make supporting women’s professional football feel less like a party And more like going to the doctor – I had to, but I wouldn’t call it fun.
This is a big problem when your product is sports because that’s the main reason why people watch sports and go to games – they go to have fun. cheerful he is the product.
Dear Lord, It was a fun first game for Angel City, helped by the fact that the team scored early, and either way, right in front of my seat. (Sorry backers department!)
The first target couldn’t be more accurate. This came only in the third minute, from a corner kick, as midfielder Savannah McCaskill sent the ball into the penalty area. An Angel City player got his head on, but then the ball sailed away, and all hope seemed lost for half a minute as it came close to rolling. But he was thwarted by forward John Endo, who, with a flick of the underfoot, sent the hopelessly brave North Carolina defender in the other direction and used the now-open space to kick a fine pass slap right in front of the net’s core. There, defender Vanessa Giles nodded into the net, making all the chaos look somehow planned as the ball sailed into the back of the net.
The pink and black crowd roared, 22,000 people.
The second goal came during the 13th minute, when Endo quarreled wide in a long pass from McCaskill and sent a laser shot into the net. The crowd exploded, screaming and jumping in something resembling harmony. Strangers embraced and lived. The home team led by two goals, and we weren’t even in the middle of the first half.
North Carolina managed to score one goal in the 51st minute with a goal by Debenha, but courage will not make the ball into the net again. As the match went on, Angel City got defensive (as expected) and guts pressed even harder (as expected) but the score didn’t budge and the party didn’t stop in the stands. Fans were alarmed when they were shown the stadium’s giant screens. Everyone screamed when Angel City grabbed the ball, and the crowd screamed louder every time Kristen Price touched the ball. Throughout the game, as it happens in sports, the stadium cameras will also show which famous person has turned up. But no one, and I mean no one, got the cheers from investor and movie star Jennifer Garner every time they showed her to her — because Jennifer gets upset with Garner and she’s clearly having a great time. It’s probably too early to suggest that Garner for Angel City FC becomes what Jack Nicholson has become with the Los Angeles Lakers, but the universe let a girl dream.
(when was interviewed, On the pink carpet before the game, Garner admitted that she knows nothing about football, which makes me love her even more. In fact, the direct quote is: “I don’t know anything! I don’t know football, I don’t know, I don’t understand it – or football, or whatever we call it these days.” So what! who cares! You have appeared! This time is great! I also, frankly, wish more sports team owners would confess when they didn’t know something.)
When the game finally came to an end, Endo was to no one’s surprise at all, he was announced as the game’s player. The rest of her teammates circled the stadium for more cheers and applause, which Endo also did after meeting her. There was more cheering, more celebration, more fives, and then everyone left, our throats a little sad, pink and black scarves dripping on the cold night, and we almost all grabbed our free black and pink stickers and got a list of all the season’s remaining games.
The second match will not be magical for Angel City, a 1-0 loss to Orlando Pride. The team conceded a very frustrating goal for Sydney Leroux in the third minute, a fearsome response to the team’s opening game of the regular season, and then never scored. Then I watched another episode of win timean HBO show based on the rise of the Lakers dynasty in the 1980s, which includes several storylines that can all be summed up as follows: “New owner Jerry Boss spends a bunch of money on an idea that may or may not work but that makes him mysteriously charming and fun.”
I don’t like everything Angel City did. Am I really supposed to consider 4-year-old Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. as an owner? Can they leave it with NFTs? I realize it’s silly to expect morality from a group sponsor, but I still hope the number one sponsor for the front of a shirt isn’t DoorDash. I don’t care how much brand a girl has. But I can also make a list like this for any sports team I follow. (Hi, I’m a Pittsburgh Steelers fan.) Frankly, I would like this – not abusive coaches, low wages, poor facilities, bad owners – to be my only complaint about women’s professional football.
After the match ended, stadium screens showed a graph stating that 1 percent of today’s ticket revenue went to players. In the crowd around me, I heard some people groaning – because 1 percent seemed too low to them. I quickly realized that most of the people in the crowd probably don’t know the long history of women’s professional team owners finding ways to pay far less than their living wage. They may not have known that the Players Association signed its first co-op agreement this year. They didn’t realize that Angel City was like that babbler – brag. Well, I said to myself, let’s all stay mad at this.
I still have my season tickets, even if I have to watch Sunday’s game on TV because I’ve been working and can’t wait for the next game I can attend in person. It was nice to go to a women’s soccer match and my biggest concern beforehand was what to wear. I had fun, not because I was trying to have fun or because girl power marketing told me to have fun. I just enjoyed it. How wonderful is that.