Naomi Osaka becomes the co-owner of the North Carolina Courage
The tennis star’s investment embraces women’s football.
by Shelton Goodfoe
Courtesy of RobPJKeating via Creative Commons.
The tennis and football worlds collide. Four-time Grand Slam winner Naomi Osaka has become the first investor of the North Carolina Courage, one of the biggest teams in the American National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL). Rising from the ashes of the Western New York Flash, the North Carolina Courage was founded in 2017 by Steve Malik after he acquired the rights of the former club and relocated the team from Elma, New York, to Cary, North Carolina.
The tennis No. 3 of the world has decided to show her commitment in inspiring the next generation of female athletes by investing her resources into one of the current leading teams in women’s football. Naomi Osaka, who has often been commended for promoting equality in sports and using her platform to show support for the Black Lives Matter movement, has put her words into action.
Admiring how the NC team showcases diversity and equality in the sports community, Naomi commented, “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.”
Naomi had already been named Sportsperson of the Year in 2020 by Sports Illustrated for her on and off the court activism, and today she continues to be an excellent example for women around the world.
Steve Malik, Chairman of the North Carolina Courage, said that he is pleased to welcome Naomi as an owner of the team: “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.”
As of today, the North Carolina Courage are back-to-back champions of the NWSL (2019, 2019), three-time winners of the NWSL Shield (2017, 2018, 2019), and are coached by Paul Riley, NWSL two-time Coach of the Year winner (2017, 2018).
Naomi Osaka is the first Asian player to hold the top ranking in tennis singles, and the second player in tennis history to win her first two Grand Slam titles back-to-back after Jennifer Capriati in 2001. Osaka’s recent victory at the 2021 Australian Open in Melbourne only adds to her list of accomplishments, making her a four-time Grand Slam champion and a bright promise for the future of tennis. Currently No. 3 of the world in the WTA ranking, Naomi is a two-time US Open winner (2018, 2020), and Australian Open winner (2019, 2021).