Ex-NFL star J.J. Watt and former United States international midfielder Kealia Watt have taken a minority stake in newly promoted English Championship winners Burnley, the couple confirmed on Monday.

Watt, who retired from the NFL at the end of last season, and his wife Kealia travelled to Burnley in March to watch Vincent Kompany’s team face Wigan.

The Clarets subsequently went on to win the Championship, securing their return to the Premier League next season.

“When you invest in a club that’s been around since 1882, you must have great respect for its history and tradition,”

“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.”

The Watts said in a statement on Burnley’s official website.

No details about the level of investment in the club by the couple was revealed.

Kealia Watt, who earned three caps for the USA’s women’s team while playing in the NWSL for Houston Dash and Chicago Red Stars, said she hopes to be involved in the development of Burnley’s women’s team.

“In the US, I’ve seen the NWSL grow into something really incredible, and we’d love to be a part of growing the women’s team here and be a part of their journey,”

She said.

J.J. Watt was one of the most prominent players in the NFL during his 12 seasons in the league, earning three NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards while being named the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year in 2017.

The 34-year-old and his charitable foundation raised more than $37 million for the relief efforts following Hurricane Harvey in 2017, money which helped rebuild more than 1,100 homes and nearly 1,000 childcare centers.

“We’re absolutely delighted to welcome J.J. and Kealia into the Clarets family,”

“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.

“I am very much looking forward to working with them.”

Burnley chairman Alan Pace said.

Source: AFP

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