The Washington Spirit announced that Michele Kang has acquired the controlling interest in the team. This makes her the first minority woman to hold a majority stake in a National Women’s Soccer League franchise. Together with the team’s other investors, a majority-female group, Kang will usher in a new era for the Spirit. “We’re thrilled that the sale of the Washington Spirit to Michele Kang has closed,” said NWSL interim CEO Marla Messing. “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. This is a great result for the entire NWSL.”
A visionary entrepreneur, Kang founded the health information technology company Cognosante in 2008 to disrupt and challenge the status quo in the U.S. healthcare system. Her commitment to equity, inclusion and opportunity for all is demonstrated in the culture and philanthropic initiatives she has established. With a fresh outlook and bold vision, Kang’s new mission is to rethink what’s possible in women’s professional soccer.
“Our players are the best of the best on and off the field. They deserve nothing less than a club that sets and achieves the high standards befitting these elite professional athletes. We dream big dreams here. Our ambition is to not only be the best women’s soccer team in the world but the best sports team, period,” says Kang.
The Washington Spirit enter their 10th season as the reigning 2021 NWSL Champions. The team retained its fan-favorite players which include seven who currently play for the U.S. National Team and added ambitious new players ready to take the title once again. The star-studded team will play its regular-season home opener on May 1, 2022, at Audi Field in Washington, DC.
Looking to the future
Kang’s long-term plans for the team include securing a permanent professional training facility, building a world-class sports business operation, and procuring national sponsorships. “The Spirit investor group believes Michele’s leadership can be transformative,” says journalist, author and Spirit board member Claire Shipman. “We want to help her build a premier club that’ll benefit this team, community and league for seasons to come. We also want to remake the way the world thinks about the powerhouse brand that is women’s sports today.”
Beyond establishing the Washington Spirit as one of the region’s must-watch sports teams, Kang–who has spent her career focused on issues of opportunity and equity issues–has plans to bring parity to the world of sports on a national and global level by showcasing the indisputable talent of women athletes and staff.
The support of The Spirit fans has been an important step in the new era of the team. It’s with extraordinary gratitude that the club begins the 2022 season welcoming both returning and new fans to the stadium.
About The Washington Spirit:
The Washington Spirit is the professional women’s soccer team based at Audi Field in Washington, D.C. and Segra Field in Leesburg, Virginia. Launched in 2012, the Spirit are the reigning champions of the National Women’s Soccer League, the premier women’s soccer competition in North America. For more information about the Spirit, visit www.WashingtonSpirit.com.