Los Angeles is the second-largest metropolitan area in the United States. Only New York City is bigger. But where LA has the edge is the number of professional soccer clubs it has. But how many soccer teams call the Los Angeles area home? Here is a rundown:

LA Soccer History

Before we get to today’s teams, Los Angeles has a history of clubs that go back quite a ways.

Leagues started in the area as early as the first decade of the 1900s. Over the years, some of these local clubs went on to national glory. Maccabee Los Angeles won the US Open Cup five times, while the LA Kickers won the title twice.

The Los Angeles Wolves played in the United Soccer Association in 1967, which was a precursor to the NASL. They got their name because they were the English side Wolverhampton Wanderers playing in the US during their summer offseason.

Later, the LA Aztecs (co-owned by Elton John and featuring players such as John Cruyff) and California Surf (playing in nearby Anaheim) played in the NASL.

Various lower-division pro clubs also played over the years, such as the California Sunshine of the ASL, and later the LA Salsa of the APSL. The latter attempted to join the Mexican professional league system in 1994 after being rebuffed by Major League Soccer in its formative stages.

The LA Galaxy ended up being the Los Angeles outfit in MLS when it launched in 1996, and they went on to become one of the league’s most successful teams.

The Galaxy would be joined in the pro ranks by Chivas USA in MLS, in 2005, and the women’s club LA Sol of WPS in 2009. Sadly, neither side survives today.

But today’s professional soccer scene in LA is very robust.

Los Angeles soccer teams

As of 2023, Los Angeles has professional soccer teams at every level, plus a vibrant amateur setup as well. In total, we see 12 teams in Los Angeles.

MLS (Division 1)

LA Galaxy

The Galaxy has been kicking since 1996 and is one of America’s most iconic modern clubs. They have won five MLS Cups, four Supporter’s Shields, two Open Cups, and a CONCACAF Champions Cup. And you may have heard of some of their players over the years. Alexi Lalas, Landon Donovan, David Beckham, and Chicharito are just a few of the players to suit up for the Galaxy. Since 2003, the Galaxy has been based in suburban Carson.


After the demise of LA-based Chivas USA in 2014, the Los Angeles Football Club was quickly established to continue a local derby (now called “El Tráfico”). Sporting a downtown location, LAFC quickly became popular and has also earned a reputation on the field. They already have one MLS Cup title and two Supporters Shields. And twice they have been finalists in the CONCACAF Champions Cup.

“El Tráfico” headlines LA’s pro soccer scene
“El Tráfico” headlines LA’s pro soccer scene

“El Tráfico” headlines LA’s pro soccer scene

NWSL (Women’s Division 1)

Angel City FC

The LA Sol folded in 2010, and their WPS league one year later. But in 2022 the women’s pro game returned to Los Angeles in the form of Angel City. Owned by a cavalcade of women’s celebrities including Natalie Portman, the team has become one of the most popular in the league. They share a stadium and primarily black color scheme with LAFC. They made the playoffs for the first time in 2023.

USL Championship (Division 2)

Orange County FC

OCFC plays in nearby Irvine at Championship Soccer Stadium, and began life in 1998 as the Los Angeles Blues, and joined the USL Pro league in 2010. Orange County won the 2021 USL Championship title.

USL League One (Division 3)

Santa Barbara Sky (2025)

The Sky is joining USL League One in 2025. While not really a true LA team (they are about 80 miles away as the crow flies), you cannot deny their SoCal cred. The club plans to play at a stadium, aptly named La Playa, located only a few hundred feet from the beach and Pacific Ocean.

Antelope Valley (2025)

Another, and yet-to-be-named, League One side is set to join the league in 2025 as well in the region. Slightly closer to LA in Lancaster (just north of LA), this new club will help establish a southern California presence and give another nearby rival to Fresno-based Fuego in the central part of the state.

NISA (Division 3)

California United Strikers FC

California United was supposed to be a NASL expansion team, but the modern version of that league collapsed before they could debut. They won the West Coast championship in the inaugural Fall 2019 NISA season. The club is officially on hiatus, but should they return, they will be one of FOUR professional clubs slated to call Championship Stadium in Irvine home in 2024.

Los Angeles Force

The Force plays in black and gold, similar to LAFC. It plays – guess where – at Championship Stadium in Irvine. The club were finalists in 2021, losing on the road to Detroit City FC in the title game.

Calabasas FC (2024)

This new club will be based in Thousand Oaks, just northwest of LA proper over the Santa Monica mountains. Originally to be known as Oaks FC, an ownership change occurred resulting in the name change

Irvine Zeta FC (2024)

The final entrant in the Irvine-based quartet, but the only one to use the suburb’s name as part of the club identity. They will get an automatic spot in the US Open Cup as a professional side in 2024. However, they’ll be sending two teams to the competition. Zeta’s amateur team in the USPL won a 2023 place as well through the open division qualifying path.

MLS NEXT Pro (Division 3)

LA Galaxy II and LAFC 2

These two sides are reserve teams playing in Major League Soccer’s MLS NEXT Pro circuit, which primarily consists of similar B-teams. Galaxy II started life playing in USL Pro in 2014 but shifted to NEXT Pro when it launched in 2022. While professional teams with paid players, as clubs outright owned by higher-level teams, they are not permitted to participate in the Open Cup.

With as many as nine fully professional, non-reserve, men’s clubs playing by 2025, Los Angeles is the closest American equivalent to many major soccer cities around the world. Angelinos certainly have no shortage of options to choose from when partaking in the beautiful game.

Photos: Imago