Star tennis player Naomi Osaka is positioning herself to be known for more than just her athletic abilities.
Taking to her Twitter account late last month, the 23-year-old revealed that she was officially a part-owner of a National Women’s Soccer League club. “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,” she wrote. “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⚽️❤️.”
In a statement obtained by Fox Business, Osaka dove more in depth into what the investment means to her not only as an entrepreneur but as a role model for young women. “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,” she told the media outlet. “I also admire everything the Courage does for diversity and equality in the community, which I greatly look forward to supporting and driving forward.”
She continued, “I’ve been wanting to get involved with the NWSL for a while, to promote women’s sports and also as a business investment, because I can see it growing rapidly. The commissioner of the league introduced me to a few teams, and after lengthy conversations, I decided the Courage was the best fit for me.”
Osaka is the first investor since team chairman Steve Malik took over and relocated the organization to North Carolina in 2017. The three-time Grand Slam singles champion will be acting as a strategic adviser to the organization.
Malik told Fox that he was “thrilled” to have the Haitian-Japanese star on board. “Naomi embodies the values we have been striving to cultivate at our club, and she brings an invaluable viewpoint on topics beyond sports,” he expressed. “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.”
In May 2020, Osaka set a record by becoming the highest-paid female athlete in annual earnings, surpassing Serena Williams. At the time, she had earned roughly $37.4 million over the previous 12 months from prize money and endorsements, which was $1.4 million more than Williams.