Angel City FC, a future NWSL expansion team, has named former England international Eni Aluko as its first-ever sporting director.
After just over a year with the Women’s Super League side, Aluko quit the same role at Aston Villa last week. It was a job she took shortly after retiring from a 17-year playing career that saw her represent the Lionesses over 100 times while still playing for Chelsea and Juventus.
The 34-year-old has spent two years as a player in the United States and is now returning to the country to participate in an ambitious initiative in Los Angeles that includes 14 former members of the US women’s national team, including Mia Hamm and Abby Wambach, award-winning actresses Natalie Portman and Eva Longoria, and tennis sensation Serena Williams.
Eni Aluko’s Word:
“I’m so proud, pleased, and delighted to be the first sporting director at Angel City,” Aluko said. “It’s a stand-alone, self-contained club with its global outlook and female-led management. The club is pioneering new territory that can motivate people all around the world. Angel City’s genuine, global presence is one of the aspects that I believe sets them apart from other clubs.
“My life represents someone who is perfectly content to be the first. I’m not afraid to knock down walls. I’m not afraid to bend the rules and do it a little differently. That often comes with a target on the back, but I believe that’s only part of my mission. That often comes with a target on the back, but I believe that’s only part of my mission. So when we talked about it being a purpose-driven organization that gives back to the city, it resonated with me in terms of the philanthropy I’ve done.”
Aluko’s job would include putting together an entirely new team from the ground up in preparation for the club’s first season next year, which is something that appealed to the former Chelsea forward.
In 2022, the Los Angeles-based club will take to the field for the first time. It was revealed in November 2020 that the club will play its home games at the Banc of California Stadium. It is also home to Major League Soccer side LAFC.