By CLTure News
January 28, 2021
North Carolina Courage, the affiliate professional women’s soccer team of North Carolina FC, has announced that tennis superstar Naomi Osaka has invested in the franchise.
Osaka, a three-time Grand Slam winner and Forbes’ highest-paid female athlete in 2020, is the first investor in the Courage since owner Stephen Malik acquired the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) franchise rights from Western New York Flash in 2017.
The daughter of Haitian and Japanese parents, Osaka was the first Asian tennis player to hold the No. 1 ranking in singles and the first Japanese player to win a Grand Slam. The 23-year-old was also named Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year in 2020.
The women who have invested in me growing up made me who I am today, I don’t know where I would be without them. Throughout my career I’ve always received so much love from my fellow female athletes so that’s why I am proud to share that I am now a owner of @TheNCCourage ⚽️❤️ pic.twitter.com/Iz0YcVvOqz
— NaomiOsaka大坂なおみ (@naomiosaka) January 28, 2021
“The women who have invested in me growing up made me who I am today and I cannot think of where my life would be without them,” said Osaka in the NC Courage press release. “My investment in the North Carolina Courage is far beyond just being a team owner, it’s an investment in amazing women who are role models and leaders in their fields and inspirations to all young female athletes. I also admire everything the Courage does for diversity and equality in the community, which I greatly look forward to supporting and driving forward.
Osaka will be investing in a winning organization. Since their introduction to the NWSL in 2018, the North Carolina Courage have won two NWSL Championships, three NWSL Shields, and the Women’s International Champions Cup.
“I am thrilled to welcome Naomi as an owner of the North Carolina Courage,” said Malik, Chairman of the North Carolina Courage. “Naomi embodies the values we have been striving to cultivate at our club, and she brings an invaluable viewpoint on topics beyond sports. I cannot think of anyone better to help us as we continue to make a difference in our community and inspire the next generation of women.”
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Osaka, who is also growing her fashion empire with endorsement deals with Nike and Louis Vuitton, will also help make design decisions for the North Carolina Courage in 2021. Back in February of 2020, North Carolina FC announced a jersey sponsorship with J. Cole’s Dreamville Festival.
The National Women’s Soccer League recently announced the 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup set to begin on April 9, 2021. Following the Challenge Cup, the NWSL’s 10 teams will face off in a 24-game regular season beginning May 15, 2021.
Check out more on the North Carolina Courage.