Michele Kang becomes majority owner of Washington Spirit

Defending National Women’s Soccer League champs Washington Spirit have made history with the announcement that Michele Kang has acquired a controlling interest in the team.

Kang is now the first minority woman to hold a majority stake in an NWSL franchise. In a statement, Kane said the team players deserve a club that sets and achieves high standards “befitting professional athletes.”

“We dream big dreams here,” Kang said. “Our ambition is to not only be the best women’s soccer team in the world but the best sports team, period.”

In January, the NWSL had already approved Kang’s acquisition of a controlling stake from then owner Steve Baldwin, with the condition that the team’s other investors would support her.

Former Senate majority leader Tom Daschle, Chelsea Clinton, Jenna Bush Hager and Alex Ovechkin are among the notable names in the Spirit ownership group.

“We know Michele is passionate about building a great soccer club, bringing professional quality resources to the players and front office staff, and promoting gender equity in all aspects of her businesses,” NWSL interim CEO Marla Messing said in a statement. “This is a great result for the entire NWSL.”

Following the firing of former head coach Richie Burke in September for violating the league’s anti-harassment policy, players and fans called for Baldwin to sell the team. Despite Baldwin resigning as the team’s CEO in October, Spirit players released a joint statement saying he needed to sell the team to Kang, the founder and CEO of health care consulting provider Cognosante.

Going forward, Kang plans to focus on finding a permanent training facility for the Spirit, along with building out the team’s front office and bringing on additional sponsors, the announcement said.

Washington enters its 10th season with a roster featuring seven players on the U.S. women’s national team, including forward Trinity Rodman, who signed the richest contract in league history during the offseason.

The Spirit is currently playing in the Challenge Cup and will start regular season play against OL Reign at Audi Field on May 1

Dave Johnson

Dave Johnson is Senior Sports Director and morning sports anchor. He first arrived at WTOP in 1989, left in 1992 and returned in 1995. He is a three-time winner of the A.I.R. award as best radio sportscaster in D.C. In 2008 he won the Edward R. Murrow award for best writing for sports commentaries.

José Umaña

José Umaña is a digital editor for WTOP. He’s been working as a journalist for almost a decade, covering local news, education and sports. His work has appeared in The Prince George’s Sentinel, The Montgomery Sentinel, Orlando Sentinel, PressBox and The Diamondback.

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