J.J. Watt is the latest example of the synergy between world football and American football. The Houston Texans and Wisconsin Badgers legend, along with his wife, former NWSL star Keila Ohai, have purchased a minority stake in English club Burnley FC. Nicknamed The Clarets, Burnley fell down from the Premier League last season, to the second tier, known as the Championship.
However, led by promising young manager Vincent Kompany, Burnley has already clinched the Championship title, and they’ll be back up in the Premiership next season.
JJ and Kealia Watt explain why they’ve invested in this ‘special Club’ ? pic.twitter.com/h5CMR7zWPH
— Burnley FC ? (@BurnleyOfficial) May 1, 2023
Watt and his wife, a sports power couple in the truest sense, are investing in the club at the perfect time.
“When you invest in a club that’s been around since 1882, you must have great respect for its history and tradition,” the Watts said, jointly, in a statement.
“We understand that not only are we investing in the squad and manager, we’re investing in the town and its people. We take that responsibility very seriously and intend to work hard in earning their trust and support. We believe that Burnley is a special club with incredible supporters and we want to help continue to elevate its global profile on its return to the Premier League.”
Koa just woke up from a nap and is trying to figure out why the whole house smells like steak & ale pie. @BurnleyOfficial #UTC pic.twitter.com/vwuOsiOHX5
— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) May 1, 2023
J.J. Watt is an amazing underdog story. Growing up in a town on the exurbs of Milwaukee, he was a pizza delivery driver before he walked on at the University of Wisconsin.
From there he developed into one of the all-time legends in not just Badgers, but Big Ten history. The 11th overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, Watt had a phenomenal career in the professional ranks, where he won the NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award three times.
The 34-year-old brings tremendous sports acumen to his second career, as he transitions to the role of post-NFL star turned business man.
And his wife Keila is a former USWNT member, making her part of the world’s best women’s soccer program.
“We’re absolutely delighted to welcome JJ and Kealia into the Clarets family,” reads a statement from Burnley chairman Alan Pace.
“Both JJ and Kealia bring with them an incredible amount of top-level sporting pedigree and success, as well as ideas and connections that will be invaluable in helping us to continue telling the Clarets story to an international audience.”
Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Sports Bank. He’s also the author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” and “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”
He’s written for numerous publications, including the New York Daily News, Sports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune. He regularly appears on NTD News and WGN News Now. Follow the website on Twitter and Instagram.
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