Three-times Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka has become part owner of the North Carolina Courage, the National Women’s Soccer League, NWSL, team said on Thursday.
The club said in a statement that the 23-year-old is the first investor in the Courage since chairman Steve Malik acquired and relocated them to from New York to North Carolina in 2017.
“Naomi embodies the values we have been striving to cultivate at our club, and she brings an invaluable viewpoint on topics beyond sports,” Malik said in the statement.
“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.”
The Japanese-Haitian star, who has lived in the US since she was three, in 2020 was named Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year for both her on-court performance and off-the-court activism.
In August she made headlines when she threatened to forfeit her Western & Southern Open tennis tournament semi-final.
This was in an act of protest after the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a black man, in the US state of Wisconsin.
The Courage praised the US Open reigning champion’s use of her platform “as a stage for social activism in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.”
“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,” Osaka tweeted.
“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.”