Six month ago Amanda Cromwell he was part of the large group of well-known and well-to-do investors they supported City of Angelsthe NWSL Expansion Club which had brought women’s professional football back to Southern California.
On Sunday she returned to Los Angeles to see the club play for the first time – only she watched from the visiting technical area, where she coached the Orlando Pride 1-0 in front of an announced crowd of 17,510 at Banc of California Stadium.
The only score in the game came from Sydney Leroux who, like Cromwell, was celebrating a homecoming. Leroux, semifinalist of the Hermann a UCLA who was playing her first club game in Los Angeles, pounced on a deflected cross into the center of the box and hit Angel City defender Megan Reid with a left-footed shot in the third minute.
That would turn out to be Orlando’s only shot on goal, but it was the only Cromwell, who followed Leroux to UCLA and led the Bruins to eight NCAA tournament appearances and the school’s only national championship in nine. seasons, he would need his first NWSL win.
“The first is great,” Cromwell said. “Being back in Los Angeles gives me the feeling of being super calm and peaceful and saying, ‘Hey, we got this.’
“After being here for nine years, it’s just a little poetic, I guess, to have the first one here.”
However, he followed a checkered route to get there. When Cromwell left UCLA to take up the coaching job in Orlando last fall, she was told that she first had to divest her stake in Angel City.
You can’t really blame Cromwell for not considering this upfront. After all, when was the last time anyone coached against a team he owned?
“I didn’t really think it was a big deal,” said Cromwell, who had joined more than a dozen other former US national team players to help found Angel City 22 months ago. “But it makes sense. When you coach another team, you might say there is a conflict of interest. “
What if you invest in the team you coach? Cromwell said it was a possibility that both she and Angel City explored last summer before the team hired Freya Coombe as head coach.
“There have been conversations. But it had to be the right solution for a number of reasons, “she said.
He found it suited Orlando after a new ownership group led by Minnesota Vikings owners Mark, Zygi and Lenny Wilf bought the Pride 10 months ago.
However, he hasn’t completely severed his ties with Los Angeles and Angel City. She kept her home in Southern California, which she now rents, and his newly wed wife, Megan Fish, kept her job with Angel City, where she works as a producer and reporter with the content team of the club.
Asked who was supporting Fish on Sunday, Cromwell insisted that the clan comes before the club.
“You want your wife to be okay, so I think it’s priority number 1,” he said.
Aside from Sunday, Cromwell confessed that he also hopes Angel City (1-1-0) will do well – and for reasons that have nothing to do with his wife or previous club participation. In fact, he said the entire NWSL is cheering on Angel City, a new team in a big city with over 15,400 subscribers and a high-profile property group that includes Hollywood stars Natalie Portman, Jessica Chastain, Jennifer Garner. and Christina Aguilera.
“All teams should take note of what Angel City has done and is doing,” he said. “I’m excited. We all want that kind of success for each other.”
In his locker room, however, there was undoubtedly pride – personal and team – that dictated Cromwell’s loyalty on Sunday.
“Amanda wouldn’t lose, she wouldn’t give up anything,” said defender Megan Montefusco, one of three Orlando and 15 NWSL players who played for the UCLA manager. “We are in this business to win. You would never put such a thing at risk. “
Speaking of victories, including the preseason NWSL Challenge Cup, Pride (1-1-0), which was plagued with injuries, didn’t have any until Sunday, having lost five of their first seven games this year.