Former England international and more recently Aston Villa Sporting Director, Eni Aluko has been named with the same role at Angel City FC in the NWSL.
The hype around Angel City is understandable and massive and I don’t blame Aluko for being attracted to the challenge of building a club and a culture from scratch while working for a team in which 45 of the 60 investors are women, the largest female-led ownership group in professional sports.
Aluko told the LA Times, “I don’t think I would have found this opportunity with Angel City so exciting if I didn’t find that real opportunity to shape the future of women’s sport in a different way.” As part of role she will oversee day-to-day operations, including player acquisitions and the hire of the club’s first coach.
“What I see with Angel City is a real brand that’s connected to what the soul of football is about. The fans, the community. I’m much more excited about rewriting the playbook, rewriting what football clubs are about.”
Julie Foudy, a two-time World Cup winner and Angel City investor also said, “She understands players’ needs and issues. She’s played over here, she’s played internationally, she knows the game, she’s smart as hell, she’s a lawyer. So for us, we just thought it’s too good. It’s too good a fit.
“She understands what we’re striving for with this club. That it’s progressive in terms of pushing women’s sports forward in ways that are super meaningful and how to think differently and outside the box. All those things she gets. And we’ve told her all along, you’re coming into a family here and you’re going to have resources and help. There’s value to be able to lean on an Abby [Wambach] and Mia [Hamm] and say, ‘Hey, what do you think?’”
For Aluko the chance to work with players as beloved as Foudy, Hamm and Wambach, who are also part of Angel City’s ownership group, was a no brainer, adding “These are my heroes.”
“If you compare the history of women’s football to men’s football in the U.K. and the history of women’s football and men’s within the U.S., women’s football has a huge advantage in the U.S.,” Aluko said. “It’s got amazing players. It’s got incredible franchises, incredible owners.