Women’s Soccer Star Acknowledges the Role of Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka in Promoting the Sport

Published 04/25/2021, 12:30 PM EDT
Tennis – A Day at the Drive Exhibition – Memorial Drive Tennis Club, Adelaide, Australia – Japan’s Naomi Osaka with Serena Williams of the U.S. at A Day at The Drive REUTERS/Morgan Sette


Ugandan star soccer player Jean Sseninde has complimented Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka for putting their money into women’s soccer and making it grow.

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Appearing on a podcast, Sseninde, who currently plays for Queens Park Rangers in England’s national women’s soccer league, said the active involvement of the two superstars of women’s tennis as well as other celebrities has gone a long way in bringing sponsors to her sport.

Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka are bringing more sponsors into women’s football: Jean Sseninde

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She added that with Serena and Osaka going out of their way to promote women’s soccer, to the extent of pledging their money to the sport, more and more women now want to break down cultural barriers, especially in some African countries where women’s soccer is frowned upon, and take up the sport in earnest.

“Looking at the cultural barriers that are in Africa and then people see that you’re playing at that global stage, actually they believe and they invest. It’s bringing sponsors on board. Looking at Serena and Osaka now investing in the women’s game.

“I mean, who could think of that a few years ago?” Sseninde said.

Osaka and Williams recently became a co-owners of American women’s soccer club

Osaka, who clinched her fourth career Grand Slam title at this year’s Australian Open, recently announced her decision to become a co-owner of American National Women’s Soccer League (NMSL) team North Carolina Courage alongside Serena.

She was encouraged to pick up a stake in the team by the 23-time Grand Slam champion and her childhood idol as well as women’s tennis great Billie Jean King.

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Acknowledging the role that these two stalwarts played in drawing her to women’s soccer, Osaka said, “Billie Jean King texts me sometimes,so I was getting inspired from her. I remember reading in an article that Serena’s daughter (Alexis Olympia) invested in a soccer team too. I thought maybe that’s a really good direction to go”.

She added that she observed athletes investing in other sports which could do with some funding and big-name involvement and wanted to join the bandwagon.

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As to why she decided to put her money in a team from North Carolina, the reigning US Open champion said she had visited the state three times and her boyfriend, rap star YBN Cordae, and his family were also born there.

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Priyabrata Chowdhury

850 articles

Priyabrata Chowdhury is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. He has been a print journalist for a decade, producing news pages for leading national dailies such as the Hindustan Times and The New Indian Express. His passion for sports eventually drove him to tennis writing.

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