Natalie Portman Isn’t Just Mighty on the Big Screen ⏤ She’s Also Shifting the Culture of a Male-Dominated Sport

Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images

Natalie Portman is living her best — and mightiest — life, and as a true hero, she’s shining the spotlight on other people instead of herself.

Speaking at the Women’s Euro earlier today, Portman shared more about Angel City FC, the female-led soccer club she founded, and her excitement was palpable and infectious. Angel City FC has a big plan, and it’s to change the world of the sport.

“One of the greatest things I’ve ever done is found a women’s football team, Angel City FC. I’m a huge fan of this amazing sport and these incredible athletes, and having become a part of the wonderful world of football, can I tell you something? I’m excited. Excited about what is happening in this world: a sport booming, skill levels off the scale, players becoming legends, owning a game that some said wasn’t theirs for the taking, but it was, and is.”

Talking to The Guardian, Portman shared her dream for Angel City FC, and it’s simple but monumental. The club wants to “make women’s soccer as valued as male soccer throughout the world.” Embracing the authentic heroic brand she’s been given as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, she’s using her platform for change — and in a big way.

Calling it a “new era” of football, she continued by saying that she can’t wait to feel the energy in stadiums, to see it from every angle. She wants to be enveloped by it and for crowds to feel that same level of passion.

“This is a new era of football where everyone is included no matter where you’re from or what level you play in. You know what else I’m excited about? What’s coming. The best players in the world. The sold-out stadiums. And most of all, I’m excited about the sound, the spirit, and the energy of great football. The planning and practice take years, but the glory — that can be found in just 90 minutes.”

Portman also said that she hopes audiences realize that the game is just that — the game, it’s about talent, skill, goals, and power. She wants to see the hard fights, the battles, and the games where the athletes leave it all on the field.

“This is what you’re about to see. Places hard won. Tackles hard fought. All coming together with purpose, intensity, the kind of passion you only get in the greatest tournaments. And please, let’s not focus on this being women’s football. Skill is skill. Goals are goals. Football is football, and this is football. Right here, right now. The joy, the spectacle, the power of football at its very best. This is the women’s Euro.”

While Portman was influenced by the love of the game globally, she was also inspired by her son and how he idolizes female athletes the way he does their male counterparts. The Guardian shared a statement from Portman via email.

“Watching my son idolize players like Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan the same way he did Lionel Messi or Karim Benzema, I realized that amplifying female athletes could rapidly shift culture.”

You can see Portman in Thor: Love and Thunder on July 8 and keep up with everything Angel City FC via their social channels.

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