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Angel City name Freya Coombe as first-ever head coach, to leave NJ/NY Gotham at end of 2021 season

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Why Alexis Ohanian sees more value in women's soccer than MLS (1:36)

Angel City FC lead investor Alexis Ohanian explains his inspiration to invest in the women's game. (1:36)

Angel City FC have named Freya Coombe as its first-ever head coach, it was announced on Monday.

Coombe will leave her position as NJ/NY Gotham head coach at the end of the 2021 season and will join the expansion side for its first year in the National Women's Soccer League in 2022.

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"I think everyone has been watching the story of Angel City unfold and I have been very impressed with the direction of the club and the core values upon which it is built," Coombe said in a statement.

"When the opportunity to connect with [sporting director] Eni [Aluko] and the team arose, I knew I had to explore it. Leaving NJ/NY Gotham was not an easy decision, but the chance to join ACFC as the head coach of a new team was something I could not pass up."

Aluko also announced the appointment of Robert Udberg as assistant head coach and performance director.

Coombe's appointment comes a month after fans expressed anger at a report in the Athletic which linked North Carolina Courage assistant coach Sean Nahas with the head coach role.

Angel City FC has marketed the club on being female-led and there was a backlash from fans at the idea of a male coach taking over. Such was the criticism, the club was forced into releasing a statement on the report.

"Considering recent speculation, we want to be clear the process of finding a head coach is ongoing, and we are taking our time to make this decision," the statement said.

"When the choice is made, it will be the right one for Angel City FC."

Coombe has had a long career in soccer as both a player and a coach. She played with and coached at Reading where she was director of coaching for its centre of excellence and acted as the club's women's development team manager.

She moved to the United States in 2014 to work as director of coaching for Everton America CT before moving to New York Soccer Club in 2018 as director of scouting and development academy coach.

After becoming interim head coach at NJ/NY Gotham in 2019, her appointment was made permanent and she guided them to the Challenge Cup semifinal in 2020 before reaching the final in 2021.

"I am delighted to welcome Freya and Rob to the team. Freya's experience as a player, coupled with her deep tactical knowledge, commitment to culture, and her most recent experience as a head coach in the fiercely competitive NSWL, make her the great fit for the team we are building from scratch," Aluko said in a statement.

"I'm also thrilled to welcome Rob to the team. He is an incredible leader with a brilliant soccer and sports science mind. As assistant head coach and performance director at Chelsea Women, Rob was part of a trailblazing team that won multiple titles over his six-year period with the club, and I know he'll bring that winning experience to Angel City from day one."

Angel City FC was announced as a new NWSL expansion side in July with a long list of A-List celebrities and sports stars as investors.

Led by venture capitalists Alexis Ohanian and Kara Nortman and entrepreneur Julie Uhrman, the ownership group also includes actresses Uzo Aduba, Jessica Chastain, America Ferrera, Jennifer Garner, Eva Longoria and Natalie Portman, as well as talk show host Lilly Singh.

Serena Williams, who is married to Ohanian, is also part of the ownership group alongside 14 former USWNT players including Julie Foudy, Mia Hamm, Lauren Holiday and Abby Wambach.