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MLS in no joke for ELF and Magic
“This is not a joke!” said Hollywood funny man Will Ferrell on announcing his role as co-founder of the Major League Soccer‘s newest franchise – Los Angeles FC. The star of Anchorman, ELF and a host of other comedy classics is part of a 26 strong group of owners that also includes NBA all time legend Magic Johnson. The announcement of the new club was a typical LA affair with the club’s ambitions to become part of the MLS and play in the 2018 season presented at a swanky gala ceremony on Thursday. LA mayor Eric Garcetti joined co-founders Peter Guber and US women’s striker Mia Hamm to inform the media and 25 minutes into their presentation, Ferrell joined the party.
‘IT’S VERY EXCITING’
“You want in?” asked the panel as Ferrell, to the mirth of the media, took up his place and affirmed his position. “It looks like you’re in,” Hamm replied, before Ferrell took over, announcing: “This is not a joke. I’m actually a member of this fine ownership group and it’s very exciting.” The comedian continued: “I’ve never been a part-owner of anything,” paused, reflected, added: “I’m still part-owner of an ‘84 Toyota Camry with my brother.” Ferrell starred in the soccer comedy Kicking and Screaming and revealed he had played the game as an eight year boy “on the mean streets of Irvine, California.” He explained that his three sons play soccer with the children of another of the LAFC co-founders, while his wife played when she studied at Pomona College. “To say soccer is a part of our lives is an understatement,” added the 48 year old.
MALAY MOGULS BRITISH TIES
Other members of the 26 strong co-owning team include Malaysian moguls with ties to British clubs – director of QPR Ruben Gnanalingam and Cardiff City’s chairman Vincent Tan. Henry Nguyen, the managing partner acknowledged the number of owners may appear “cumbersome” but added: “It’s a joy to have such a collection of incredibly successful, experienced, talented people contributing their ideas.” The announcement of the club’s owners and plans to play in the MLS in 2018 included the unveiling of the club crest and colours. An art-deco styled ‘LA’ with a wing incorporated in the text, contrasted with black, red and dark gold is part, Nguyen said, of their ambition to become an internationally renowned brand.
“The wing is such a special symbol of what this city is, in terms of meaning, flight, dynamism,” Nguyen explained. “This is the City of Angels. And it’s every type of wing. It’s an Aztec eagle wing. It’s a dragon wing. It’s an angel wing. It’s whatever wing you want it to be.” LAFC President Tom Penn said: Our promise is to unite the world’s city with the world’s game.” The team will play in their own purpose-built 22,000 capacity stadium in the southern part of the city, close to the American football stadium used by the University of South California.
By: Joe Cahal