Welcome Naomi: Osaka Continues Breaking Down Barriers

Naomi Osaka (photo: @NC Courage/Twitter)

WASHINGTON, January 29, 2021 (by Michael Dickens)

As Naomi Osaka readies to start her 2021 tennis season Down Under, the reigning US Open champion continues to smash glass ceilings and break down barriers. After using her social media platforms as a means of promoting social activism and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, she became a brand ambassador for Louis Vuitton and TAG Heuer and was featured in a fashion spread in Vogue during the off-season. Last year, Osaka was named Forbes‘ highest-paid female athlete in the world.

On Thursday, the tennis superstar and global sports icon who is the daughter of a Haitian father and Japanese mother announced she’s become an investor in the North Carolina Courage women’s professional soccer team. The Courage are based in Cary, N.C., and members of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) in the United States.

In a press release, Osaka said: “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. 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, which I greatly look forward to supporting and driving forward.

North Carolina Courage owner Steve Malik said: “I am thrilled to welcome Naomi as an owner of the North Carolina Courage. 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.”

The North Carolina Courage are part of the largest youth to professional soccer club in the United States, with over 13,000 players. According to the Courage, Osaka’s investing in the team aligns organically with organically her Naomi Osaka Play Academy, which is an initiative that aims to change the lives of girls through both play and sport.

“Naomi is the perfect fit as an owner because her values sync so well with our club,” said Curt Johnson, Courage president and general manager. “A team with an exemplary and trailblazing roster of world-class professional athletes supported by a globally influential icon is a seminal moment for our sport and the Courage organization.”

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