Steve Baldwin, owner of NWSL Washington Spirit to sell club stock
Steve Baldwin, the controlling owner of Washington Spirit, informed other club investors Thursday of his intention to sell his shares, sources confirmed to ESPN. Spirit belongs to the top division of women’s professional soccer in the United States, the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL).
The Washington Post was the first to report on Baldwin’s plans.
Baldwin has been under pressure from players to sell his shares to co-owner Y.Michele Kang since reports emerged that former coach Richie Burke had verbally abused players, as well as another separate report detailing how a toxic culture permeated much of the organization.
A source told ESPN that Baldwin has sent an email to other investors that he hopes to sell the team by the end of this year, although he did not name a specific individual or group that would like to buy the team.
The Post reported that Baldwin said in the email: “I’ve heard calls for change. I understand that many of our fans, players and investors see the club as requiring leadership, direction and new energy. I agree with you.”
Baldwin, who has been in possession of the soul since 2019, has been battling Kang for soul control. According to the Washington Post, Baldwin’s alleged deal to sell his shares to Kang failed only for him to change his mind. Baldwin had previously said he was stepping down as CEO and managing partner, although at the time he made no mention of selling his shares.
NWSL is currently investigating Spirit about allegations surrounding Burke and the team’s work culture.
The disruption comes at a time when the league is responsible for allegations of abuse made against coaches and executives. In all, four coaches have been fired or forced to resign, including former NC Courage coach Paul Riley, who was sacked after allegations of sexual coercion made by two former Portland Thorns players.
FIFA, the US Soccer (commonly known as US Soccer), the NWSL and the Women’s Players Association (NWSLPA) are all conducting investigations into the allegations of abuse that arose in the past month.