The future Pro Football Hall of Famer and the NWSL veteran are officially minority stakeholders in the 2022-23 champions of England’s second division.
JJ Watt‘s first big post-retirement move is an investment in football — but perhaps not the kind you were expecting.
The longtime NFL star and future Pro Football Hall of Famer announced his purchase of a stake in English soccer club Burnley FC Monday on his Instagram page, in his words retiring from retirement, needing something to do. Sitting alongside his wife, Kealia, an NWSL veteran with the Chicago Red Stars and Houston Dash and a US international, Watt proclaimed that he’s retiring from retirement to put money into Burnley, which notably earned promotion to the Premier League for 2023-24 by clinching the second-division Football League Championship title last week.
“We don’t have ‘buy an entire European football club’ kind of money,” Watt said in the video, referring to actor and Wrexham AFC owner Ryan Reynolds, “we’re more along the lines of minority investment, but massive emotional investment.”
JJ and Kealia will both help the Clarets grow internationally, and Kealia will focus on the development of Burnley’s women’s team, which played its first-ever game last weekend at the club’s longtime home ground of Turf Moor.
“This is a conversation that has been happening for some time and over the course of this season we’ve been hugely impressed by their passion and interest in both the club and the Burnley community,” Burnley Chairman Alan Pace said in an official statement. “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.”
Burnley were relegated from the Premier League down to England’s second-tier EFL Championship at the conclusion of the 2021-22 season. This year, they became the first to clinch automatic promotion back to the top flight before securing the league title with a win over Blackburn Rovers on April 25.
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