Three-Time Grand Slam Champion Naomi Osaka Invests in North Carolina Courage Women’s Professional Soccer Team

Naomi Osaka

Global sports icon and tennis superstar Naomi Osaka has invested in the North Carolina Courage. Osaka is the first investor in the Courage since Steve Malik acquired and relocated the team to North Carolina in 2017.

Named Forbes’ Highest Paid Female Athlete in 2020, Osaka is showing her commitment to inspiring the next generation of female athletes by investing her time and money into one of the best women’s professional soccer teams in the world. 

“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,” said Osaka. “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.”

Osaka, the daughter of a Haitian father and Japanese mother, was the first Asian player to hold the No. 1 ranking in singles and the first Japanese player to win a Grand Slam.

“I am thrilled to welcome Naomi (Osaka) as an owner of the North Carolina Courage,” said Malik, Chairman 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.”

In terms of competitive achievements, parallels can be drawn between Osaka and the team in which she has invested. The two are no strangers to success, as Osaka has won three Grand Slam titles (2018 US Open, 2019 Australian Open, 2020 US Open) and the Courage have won six trophies in four years (two NWSL Championships, three NWSL Shields, and the Women’s International Champions Cup). 

The Courage are part of the largest youth to professional soccer club in the U.S. with over 13,000 players, which aligns organically with The Naomi Osaka Play Academy, an initiative that aims to change girls’ lives through play and sport. Osaka’s program is part of Nike’s Made to Play commitment to get more kids moving around the world. The Play Academy provides a fun, positive experience for young girls with a focus on gender-inclusive coaching and programming to help break down barriers for girls in sports.

“Naomi is the perfect fit as an owner because her values sync so well with our club,” said North Carolina Courage President and General Manager, Curt Johnson. “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.”