Tennis star, Naomi Osaka has definitely made a name for herself, from her talents in tennis to tackling the injustices that are faced within our communities.
This time, Osaka has partnered with National Women’s Soccer League team the North Carolina Courage, which makes her the first investor to join owner Steve Malik since he took interest of the franchise in 2017.
Osaka will be taking on role as the “strategic advisor” following the investment.
“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,” Osaka, who is overseas preparing for the Australian Open, tells PEOPLE. “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 also elaborates on how the North Carolina Courage team ultimately led to becoming her first choice. “First and foremost, I really like the people running the club from top to bottom,” she explains. “They align so closely with my values and interests — promoting women’s sports through grassroots and using the team as a platform to do good in the community.”
Speaking of values and interest, Osaka mentions how she plans to encourage others on the Courage to use their voices to call for change.
“Athletes have always been forces for change, I just think that in the past years it’s become more apparent and people are noticing more,” she continues. “If you look back on Muhammad Ali and Billie Jean King, they were really paving the way for all of us athletes today to stand up for what we believe in. I am really honored to be a part of what I hope is the norm moving forward.”
We should be seeing some pretty exciting projects coming from this investment as Osaka assures us!
“We have some plans to do some really unique and cool stuff together — I plan to be involved as more of a strategic advisor on things like growing the brand, promoting women’s sports, encouraging the next generation and tackling social issues,”