New Natalie Portman-owned women’s soccer team hires Stephanie Rudnick as PR head

The Los Angeles-based NWSL expansion team is tentatively named Angel City and has an ownership group also including actor Jessica Chastain and tennis star Serena Williams.

LOS ANGELES: Angel City, a celebrity-led and owned women’s professional soccer expansion team in Los Angeles, has hired Stephanie Rudnick as head of PR.

The team is set to become part of the National Women’s Soccer League in its 2022 season. 

Rudnick has been working with the team on a consultancy basis since May, but is planning to officially join the organization as an employee on August 1. She will report to Julie Uhrman, president and cofounder, as well as cofounders Natalie Portman and Kara Nortman.

“It’s kind of unreal to say you report into Natalie Portman, but she is a boss,” said Rudnick. “She is so smart and incredible.”

Rudnick will lead PR, comms and media relations.

Olympic gold medalists and FIFA Women’s World Cup champions Lauren Cheney Holiday and Abby Wambach are among 14 former U.S. Women’s National Team players in the ownership group. The group is also led by venture capitalist Alexis Ohanian and includes actors Uzo Aduba, Jessica Chastain, America Ferrera, Jennifer Garner, Eva Longoria and late-night talk show host Lilly Singh. Tennis star Serena Williams, who is married to Ohanian, is also part of the founding investors group, as is their two-year-old daughter.

“I am working out several long-form pieces with some major nationals and making sure everyone is fully on-message,” said Rudnick. “When you have 35 investors, you have 35 different constituents. So we are making sure they understand our positioning, messaging and timeline.”

She explained that the team is only tentatively named Angel City until a venue partner is official. 

“We are calling ourselves Angel City now in a tribute to Los Angeles,” Rudnick said. “That’s what the cool kids call it.”

As a consultant, Rudnick was part of the team at Angel City that released an RFP for creative, social and social strategy agencies. RGA is doing social strategy, Plural is managing social and Battery is handling creative. She also worked closely with the founders on the PR strategy, as well as the publicists of the celebrities that came onboard.

“Because we are in such a wild time, we moved Angel City’s announcement date around a bit, and we wanted to be thoughtful,” said Rudnick. “We chose to do July 21 because we felt like it was leading into the last week of the NWSL Challenge Cup. We wanted to drive eyeballs to this incredible group of women who have been playing for several weeks.”

Previously, Rudnick was SVP of comms and media relations for the XFL, the startup football league founded by the WWE’s Vince McMahon that ceased operations in April due to the coronavirus pandemic. During an 18-month tenure at the XFL, Rudnick hired and managed the PR staff for the league's eight teams and a team at headquarters.

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