TWO-TIME NBA MVP STEVE NASH AND FORMER YAHOO! PRESIDENT/COO JEFF MALLETT KICK IN THE BUCKS AS OWNERS IN WOMEN’S PROFESSIONAL SOCCER
Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) announced two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash and former Yahoo! President and Chief Operating Officer Jeff Mallett will become investors and part owners of the league, which begins play in 2009 with teams based in Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New Jersey/New York, St. Louis, and Washington, D.C. While Nash and Mallett will not operate a team, their investment will fund the ongoing development of WPS and is specifically earmarked for new media ventures and initiatives.
“I am really excited to play a role in bringing professional women’s soccer to North America,” said Nash. “As a father of twin girls, I’m especially pleased to help young women around the world realize that their dreams of being a pro soccer player can indeed come true.”
Nash, a first-round draft pick by the Phoenix Suns in 1996, is well known in the sports world as having dual passions for basketball and soccer. Growing up in Victoria, British Columbia, soccer was in Nash’s blood. His father, John, played professionally in South Africa and his sister, Joann, was the captain of the University of Victoria women’s soccer team, while his brother, Martin, plays professionally for the USL First Division’s Vancouver Whitecaps and also represents the Canadian National Team. Nash, in his own right, was on the Mount Douglas Secondary School soccer team that won the provincial championship, leading him to be named British Columbia’s Most Valuable Player.
Mallett, best known for helping build Yahoo!, from its startup phase into the global franchise it is today, is also a former soccer player, having spent two years in Canada’s National and Olympic soccer team programs as a teenager. Still an avid fan of the game, Mallett serves as an advisor to League Commissioner Tonya Antonucci, who formerly oversaw Yahoo! Sports and served as general manager of Yahoo’s partnership with the FIFA Men’s and Women’s World Cups.
“Steve and Jeff ’s passion for women’s soccer, combined with their overall sports and business acumen, make them ideal ambassadors for the sport and perfect partners for WPS,” said Antonucci. “With just over a year until play begins, we will no doubt keep our newest owners actively involved with a number of events, business initiatives and other announcements”
Mallett is also a principle investor and executive committee member of Major League Baseball’s San Francisco Giants, a role which includes ownership and management of the award winning AT&T Park and part ownership of the San Francisco Bay Area’s regional sports cable television network.
“I believe the opportunity in North America to build a successful professional women’s soccer league that attracts the best players in the world is here and now,” said Mallett.
The mission of Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) is to be the premier women’s soccer league in the world and the global standard by which women’s professional sports are measured. Play kicks off in the spring of 2009, with WPS teams based in Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New Jersey/New York, St. Louis, and Washington, D.C.