Soccer: Chelsea Clinton, Jenna Bush Hager among investors in NWSL’s Spirit
February 18, 2021
By Amy Tennery
(Reuters) – Chelsea Clinton and Jenna Bush Hager are buying a stake in the National Women’s Soccer League’s (NWSL) Washington Spirit, along with Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast Dominique Dawes, the team said on Wednesday.
The daughters of former U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush are among more than 30 people in the new investor group, which also includes former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle.
“Our investor group reflects DC’s political roots, sports legacy, international reach, and thriving business and technology community,” said Devin Talbott, an entrepreneur and member of the new investment group. “We share a common vision and committed purpose to elevate women’s soccer.”
Spirit assistant coach Briana Scurry, a former goalkeeper who helped the U.S. women’s national soccer team to win Olympic gold at the 1996 and 2004 summer Games, as well as the 1999 World Cup, is also among the team’s investors.
She told Reuters the investment group is a testament to the progress women’s soccer has made in the United States, at a time when the national team looks to seize Olympic gold in Tokyo, on the heels of a fourth World Cup title.
“The NWSL, what it has come to represent, is a great promise – a great promise to women, a great promise to the youth of today, and I think that stems from the women’s national team, (who are) winners, inclusive, groundbreaking, leadership-driven,” said Scurry. “All these things are interwoven.”
Spirit owner Steve Baldwin told Reuters the variety of skills and background in the new investor group would help burnish the franchise’s “player-centric” approach to acquiring and retaining top talent.
“It was important that people not only write the check but also make the commitment to bring their expertise and talents into the mix to benefit the club,” said Baldwin.
Stakeholders will align themselves with four newly implemented committees including strategy and development, community service, player experience, and content, media and technology.
The group joins a number of new celebrity investors in the league, including three-times Grand Slam tennis champion Naomi Osaka, who has become an owner of the North Carolina Courage, which won back-to-back championships in 2018 and 2019.
The NWSL announced in July that it had awarded exclusive rights to bring a franchise to Los Angeles to an ownership group that includes 23-times tennis Grand Slam champion Serena Williams and Academy Award winner Natalie Portman.
Dubbed “Angel City”, the Los Angeles team is the 11th franchise in the league. Tennis great Billie Jean King and Olympic skiing champion Lindsey Vonn are also investors.
The NWSL will return to action in April for the Challenge Cup tournament, before starting its 24-match regular season in May.
(Reporting by Amy Tennery; Editing by Ed Osmond and Christopher Cushing)