Naomi Osaka Expands her Play Academy to Empower more girls Through Play & Sport

Tennis sensation and star Naomi Osaka is making moves off the field to empower young girls.

According to AfroTech, the tennis star Osaka and Nike partnership aims to redefine the meaning of sports movement for the next generation of girls. The two announced that Play Academy — created in partnership with Laureus Sport for Good last August — is expanding its outreach to Los Angeles and Haiti, where it will collaborate with local sports-based organizations to help support today’s young girls participating in sports.

Naomi Osaka

Nike’s Play Academy was created alongside Osaka, who incorporated her own personal experiences — as an athlete — and cultural heritage into the program’s mission, to help change the lives of other young girls like herself.

“I’m passionate about breaking barriers that girls face when it comes to opportunities to access and benefit from play and sport,” Osaka shared in a statement. “Play Academy’s expansion represents an even greater opportunity to do that.”

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Naomi Osaka

“The beauty of Play Academy is that it reflects all of the communities where Naomi has a personal connection,” Caitlin Morris — Nike VP, Social & Community Impact — said in an announcement. “We share her belief that play is for everyone. Young girls in places like Los Angeles and Haiti may have different social and cultural reasons for why play and sport have been difficult to access, but in the end, they all need an opportunity to play – as well as authentic role models like Naomi, who fully embrace who they are and what they believe in.”

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In addition to its three Japanese community organizations, Play Academy will also be working with both Los Angeles and Haiti-based organizations, including GOALS Haiti. Its first group of partners will be announced later this summer.

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