Serena Williams praises NWSL: ‘Women’s soccer is one of the most exciting sports ever’

Last week before an Australian Open match, Naomi Osaka unveiled the new kit the North Carolina Courage of the National Women's Soccer League will wear in 2021. This was not entirely a marketing campaign — Osaka is an investor in the club. 

She is not the only women's tennis star with an ownership stake in the league, as Serena Williams is part-owner of an NWSL expansion franchise in Los Angeles, Angel City FC, that will compete in the 2022 season. 

Williams was asked about her and Osaka's involvement with the growing league — one of the few to experience ratings increases in 2020 — after defeating Aryna Sabalenka 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 on Saturday to advance to the Australian Open quarterfinals.

"I feel like women's soccer is one of the most exciting sports ever, so it's super exciting to watch," Williams told reporters. "And to support them and to bring a major league into the United States is definitely something that's super important.

"I know (firsthand) how I have benefited from playing on the WTA Tour, and these athletes are so good at what they do, and so exciting, and they're so amazing, and so it's really awesome to be a part of supporting other women athletes." 

Angel City FC's ownership group includes women's soccer greats Mia Hamm, Julie Foudy, Abby Wambach, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian (Williams' husband) and actress Natalie Portman. 

Williams will face No. 2 seed Simona Halep in her quarterfinal matchup early Tuesday, while the third-seeded Osaka will take on Hsieh Su-Wei Monday night. 

Follow Chris Bumbaca on Twitter @BOOMbaca.

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