Angel City FC CTO Eniola Aluko took a look at the empty Banc of California stadium a couple of months ago and imagined what the first game might look like.
“I think this is a really interesting, agile, fast, unpredictable team,” she said. “And if you don’t like it, then I’m not sure… you should probably watch another sport.
“The beauty of football is that there are so many different ways to win. So you have to understand which way you are. I want this place to be feared. I want our opposition to be like this: “Okay, what are we going to do?” and we want the fans to see it too, and we hope this product hits the field. ”
The first ACFC line-up already has parts, starting with the August trade, to attract Christen Press. Last week, the club acquired defenders Mary Alice Vignola and Sarah Gorden, midfielders Julie Ertz and Katie Cousins, and striker Simone Charlie.
Vignola, Gorden, Cousins, Press and Charlie have signed new contracts.
ACFC has another important week on its way to its debut season in the NWSL. The first is the NWSL Expansion Project at 4:00 pm on Thursday, followed by the NWSL College Project on Saturday.
Aluko, 34, was hired by the ACFC in May. She left the game in January 2020. In this career, she has played with clubs such as Chelsea and Juventus, as well as in the US in the now defunct women’s professional football league.
Her beginnings in football, or, as she calls it, football, began innocently enough.
“I started playing at the age of five,” she said. “There were a bunch of boys in my area, there were no girls … So my quickest way to adjust and be accepted in the area was to play football with the boys.
“I knew how to circle the guys and run past them, and, obviously, the more you play, the more confident you become. My love for football has never faded and it will be an important part of my life until I leave. ”
Now, after her legendary career that also included 102 England caps, Aluko is tasked with building the ACFC squad, a team that hasn’t shied away from developing its brand on and off the pitch.
Freya Coombe is hired by ACFC as its first coach. Robert Udberg will join her as Assistant Coach and Performance Director.
The club also has a director of scouting and analytics (Kim McCauley).
“We are doing hard work, we are building the club and bringing in the best talent,” said Julie Urman, co-founder and president of ACFC. “Eni Aluko is not only a sports director, but also a former player. So she knows what the players are going through, she knows how we should develop them, how we should build programs around them and how we support them on and off the pitch.
“And as an expansion team, it’s not always easy to pull yourself together and be successful in the first and second seasons because you spend so much time learning. So the idea of combining a former player (Ani Aluko) with experience as a sporting director with coach (Freya Coombe) with experience in the US, college and NWSL players, we just thought it was the perfect combination to we could try to get every possible advantage as an expansion team. ”