Sarah Spain and Kendall Coyne Schofield will own Red Stars
The NWSL continues to see high profile women from a variety of backgrounds making serious investments in their teams. The newest are the Chicago Red Stars, who unveiled their new, diverse group of owners on Monday.
Award-winning ESPN reporter Sarah Spain and Olympic gold medalist hockey player and Chicago Blackhawks development coach Kendall Coyne Schofield headline the group. Spain announces its investment in a tweet.
It’s finally here! Announce the day! I am so proud and excited to share that I am part of the new owner group for them @ ChicagoRedStars of @NWSL, a team I’ve been cheering for years. I never thought I’d have the opportunity to own a professional sports team … WILD. (1 /) pic.twitter.com/FqeUDiZPgL
– Sarah Spain (@SarahSpain) March 1, 2021
Other women in the group include Julie Haddon, senior vice president of global brand and consumer marketing for the NFL, music industry manager and manager of Chance the Rapper, Colleen Mares, and Marie Tillman, pat Tillman’s widow and founder and chairman of Pat Tillman Foundation, endowment.
Joining this group of female owners is a group of male athletes and business people who all support the Red Stars and women’s sports in general. These include Coyne Schofield’s husband, Michael Schofield, a six-year NFL veteran, former Chicago Bears defender Israel Idonije, and a number of other “prominent current and former Chicagoans in business, technology and communications.”
Founding and majority owner Arnim Whisler said in the statement that the new group of owners will take the team into their own hands.
“We have started building a unique, high performing team that stretches from the pitch to the boardroom. This group is more than just investors. Everyone involved cares intensively about the city of Chicago and the success of the Chicago Red Stars, the NWSL and women’s sports. It’s time for the red stars to shine even brighter. “
Spain inspired by other NWSL owners
Washington Spirit and 2022 expansion teams Angel City FC recently launched formidable ownership groups that include celebrity athletes, actresses, entrepreneurs and public figures. These pioneering owner groups have inspired Spain to become an owner itself.
Spain told the Chicago Sun-Times that it was inspired by Angel City FC owner and USWNT Olympic champion Julie Foudy to become the NWSL owner. However, when she joked with Foudy, Abby Wambach, and Glennon Doyle at an ESPNW summit, she had no idea she was actually going to become the owner.
“At the ESPNW summit, there was one of my panels with Abby Wambach and Glennon Doyle,” said Spain. “Abby talked in her book about not giving you a seat at the table, pulling up a chair, and building a new table. I think I was having a bit of fun [Julie] Foudy and Glennon and Abby say, “Well, I’ll be the owner.”
Coyne Schofield and her husband are both determined to support and grow the women’s sport, but they told the Sun-Times that talking to Spain helped them make their final decision to invest in the Red Stars. Schofield said he hoped her investment in the Red Stars would inspire others.
“Kendall is one of the hardest-working athletes I know,” said Schofield. “Women’s sports don’t get the respect they deserve. Through our investment, we hope it will help improve the women’s game. And when I say the women’s game, I mean them all.”
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