scorecardNaomi Osaka now owns an NWSL team, and growing interest in women's sports prompted her investment
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Naomi Osaka now owns an NWSL team, and growing interest in women's sports prompted her investment

Meredith Cash   

Naomi Osaka now owns an NWSL team, and growing interest in women's sports prompted her investment
Sports2 min read
  • Naomi Osaka is now the proud owner of a professional sports franchise.
  • The 23-year-old invested in the North Carolina Courage, an NWSL team, and cited her interest in promoting women's sports as her motivation.
  • While Osaka and the club evidently share a winning mentality, both parties also boast a public commitment to fighting injustice.

Naomi Osaka has garnered an array of accolades - three-time Grand Slam champion, last year's highest paid female athlete on the planet, and social and racial justice advocate among them - that would be absolutely astounding even for someone twice her age.

And now, the 23-year-old can add professional sports franchise owner to the list.

The tennis superstar announced Thursday that she is the newest owner of the North Carolina Courage - the National Women's Soccer League club that has won three shields and two championships in the four years since its founding. Osaka cited the growing interest in women's sports and inspiring young girls as the impetus for her investment in the team, which features both US Women's National Team players and international stars on its roster.

"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," Osaka said, per a release from the franchise. "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," she added. "Which I greatly look forward to supporting and driving forward."

While Osaka and the club evidently share a winning mentality, both parties also boast a public commitment to fighting injustice. Osaka made waves last fall as she used her platform to honor victims of police brutality throughout her historic 2020 US Open championship run. Likewise, her recently-acquired team was among the first in American professional sports to kneel during the national anthem, and players within the franchise are leaders in the league's newly-formed Black Women's Player Collective.

After the initial announcement, the Courage released a video featuring highlights of North Carolina players and the tennis star herself that expresses their joint dedication to winning and societal betterment.

"We have raised cups, trophies, and shields," the video says. "We have fought like hell and learned from defeat. We take action for what's important, and sometimes kneel in defiance. We are diverse talent from all over the globe with a universal message of empowerment."

"Welcome, Naomi Osaka. Courage unites us."

Check out the clip below:

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