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Spirit’s Y. Michele Kang Becomes First Woman of Color to Own Majority Stake of NWSL Club

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Y. Michele Kang has officially become the Washington Spirit’s majority owner, becoming the first woman of color to hold a majority stake in a National Women’s Soccer League franchise, the team announced Wednesday morning.

The confirmation comes after Kang acquired the interests of former owners Bill Lynch and Steve Baldwin in February. It follows a months-long power struggle that began last summer when Kang first called upon Baldwin to give up control of the club amid allegations of abuse and mismanagement within the organization.

“Our players are the best of the best on and off the field,” Kang said in a statement Wednesday. “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 soccer team, period.”

Kang, a Washington-area businesswoman, plans to hit the ground running and has previously said that she hopes to modernize the club’s business practices. Among her biggest goals is to secure a permanent professional training facility for the Spirit, who currently trains at facilities owned by D.C. United of the MLS.

“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.”

Fresh off of a league championship following the 2021 season, the Spirit has opened play in 2022 with a pair of draws in the NWSL’s Challenge Cup. Washington will begin regular-season play on May 1.

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