Angel City FC will train at Cal Lutheran

Partnership will provide internships, other opportunities

Download photo

Cal Lutheran alumna and ACFC’s Director of Corporate Partnerships Alex Mallen, second from the left, played a key role in bringing the university and the club together. With her on North Field are Holly Roepke with Cal Lutheran; Austin Hilpert, Marisa Leconte and Angela Hucles Mangano with ACFC; and Matthew Ward with Cal Lutheran.

Photo: Tracie Karasik

(THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — March 8, 2022) Today, Angel City Football Club (ACFC) announced that California Lutheran University will serve as the inaugural training site for the National Women’s Soccer League team.

Angel City, which is bringing women’s professional soccer back to Southern California, will begin practicing today at Cal Lutheran’s Thousand Oaks campus as it prepares for the 2022 season kicking off this spring.

"It’s wonderful to have a new home in Cal Lutheran, which provides the elements of a practice facility that an elite team needs to train at peak form,” said ACFC Vice President of Player Development and Operations Angela Hucles Mangano. “Finding so many high-quality features in one location in the greater Los Angeles area is rare, and Cal Lutheran has those elements.”

ACFC will provide internships to undergraduate and graduate students at Cal Lutheran, which began offering a bachelor’s degree in sports management in 2020. The organization’s staff members will guest lecture in a variety of Cal Lutheran classes, and club members will participate in chalk talks with student-athletes. The club’s leadership also will host students and staff at Angel City’s Los Angeles headquarters for an entrepreneurial workshop. 

ACFC is one of the first majority female-founded, female-owned and female-run professional soccer teams. The team’s founders are Academy Award-winning actress and activist Natalie Portman; technology venture capitalist Kara Nortman; media and gaming entrepreneur Julie Uhrman; and venture capitalist, Seven Seven Six founder and former Executive Chair of Reddit Alexis Ohanian. 

ACFC’s Director of Corporate Partnerships Alex Mallen, a Cal Lutheran alumna, played a key role in bringing the university and the club together.

As a component of the partnership, Angel City will support efforts to renovate the university's North Field, where it will practice, laying the foundation for the site of a future track after the club departs. The university has not had an on-campus track for its track-and-field teams since 2004. 

The agreement allows the team to base its training operations at Cal Lutheran for at least two years with the possibility of an extension to a third year. In addition to North Field, Angel City will use facilities within William Rolland Stadium and Gilbert Sports and Fitness Center. 

The university has a long history of partnerships with high-level athletic teams. Cal Lutheran has been home to the Los Angeles Rams training facility since 2016, and it hosted the Dallas Cowboys training camp from 1963 to 1989. The 2008 and 2012 U.S. Olympic men’s water polo teams trained in Samuelson Aquatics Center.  

“Cal Lutheran is thrilled to develop this win-win partnership with Angel City. We take great pride in being a regional asset and having two professional teams currently using our beautiful campus as their professional training sites,” said Cal Lutheran President Lori E. Varlotta. “At the same time, we are pleased that this burgeoning relationship will provide our students with internships, access to stimulating guest lectures and a glimpse into what successful entrepreneurship looks like.”