Natalie Portman Says Success of Women's Sports Is 'So Influential' for Her Son and Daughter

The Angel City FC co-founder spoke with PEOPLE on Sunday about how special it is to bring a National Women's Soccer League team to Los Angeles

Natalie Portman walks the pink carpet ahead of a game between NJ/NY Gotham FC and Angel City FC at BMO Stadium
Photo: Katharine Lotze/Getty Images

Natalie Portman is proud to show her kids — and Los Angeles — the world of women's sports.

The actress is a co-founder of Angel City Football Club, a brand new National Women's Soccer League team in L.A. Speaking exclusively with PEOPLE at the team's opener on Sunday, Portman shared how special it is for her kids and the community to be a part of it.

"Well, that's the joy of soccer or as many people call it football, that it's something that really brings people together and is joyful," Portman, 41, tells PEOPLE at BMO Stadium of the family sport. "And so, you can be supporting something like women's equity, but also having a great time doing it."

"It's just really fun," adds the mom of two, who shares daughter Amalia, 6, and son Aleph, 11, with husband Benjamin Millepied, 45.

While it's important for Portman to share the experience with her daughter, it's equally as vital for her son to soak it in as well.

"I think that for all kids, it's so influential to see female athletes be celebrated as they deserve. I mean, we grew up as girls being expected to idolize male athletes, and we did," says Portman, who has been a part of Angel City FC since its inception. "If you see excellence, you can be in awe of it no matter who is being excellent. So, I think that for all our kids, it really gives me tingles thinking about how different their world will be growing up with icons we have on our team."

Natalie Portman walks the pink carpet ahead of a game between NJ/NY Gotham FC and Angel City FC at BMO Stadium
Katharine Lotze/Getty Images

As an icon herself, the 2011 Best Actress Oscar winner previously told Variety that it was her kids that helped inspire her to do 2022's Thor: Love and Thunder.

"I feel like it's the phase of my career where I'm really trying to just impress my kids," she said, saying that they were "enthralled by this process, getting to visit the set and see me dressed up in a cape. It made it really cool," she added. "You know, it's very rare that my kids are like, 'Please go to work!' Usually, it's quite the opposite."

Now adding a different element of work into the mix, Portman on Sunday also spoke with PEOPLE about the sense of community that her team has brought to L.A.

The Black Swan star says that "so many people just on the street" have "come up and been so appreciative and so happy to have an NWSL team in Los Angeles." It was the local Angelenos that were waving "Bring NWSL to L.A." banners at the men's games who "really inspired all of this and we're so grateful to them," she notes.

Natalie Portman. Courtesy of Angel City Footbal Club
Courtesy of Angel City Footbal Club

Soon to be sharing those moments on the small screen, Portman is coming out with an HBO docuseries Angel City, which tells the inspirational story of the soccer team's first season.

PEOPLE shared the first teaser for the series on March 23. Portman serves as an executive producer on Angel City alongside fellow Academy Award winners Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin. The special was directed by Arlene Nelson, whose previous projects include HBO's Naked States and Gutsy.

"Sometimes you dream impossible dreams and then you kind of let them go away," Portman says in the teaser. "But then sometimes, someone you love and respect says that's a good idea, keep going," she continues. The clip shows emotional and triumphant moments from behind the scenes and on the field as the team embarks on what Portman calls "one of the most extraordinary adventures" of her life.

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Portman, along with fellow entrepreneurs and co-founders Kara Nortman and Julie Uhrman, told PEOPLE on Sunday that they brought the team to life very "quickly."

"It was the three of us coming up with this crazy idea to start a team as a startup and have it be majority female-owned, majority female-run, and of course female sports," Portman says. "And it's just been wild, I never imagined in a million years."

Angel City debuts on HBO in May and will be available to stream on HBO Max.

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