CHICAGO — The Chicago Red Stars will have new ownership, and it will be led by a person who is part of two other professional sports organizations in the city.

On Tuesday, it was announced that a group led by Chicago Cubs co-owner and Chicago Sky minority owner Laura Ricketts has come to an agreement in principle to purchase the National Women’s Soccer League club.

The sale is pending the approval of the league’s board with the hope that it will be completed soon.

They will purchase the franchise from Arnim Whisler, the club’s founder. He made the decision to sell in December 2022 in the wake of the Yates Report which was critical of his handling of abuse claims against then club manager Rory Dames.

“I am honored to lead this group of Chicago business and civic leaders in our effort to purchase the Chicago Red Stars,” said Ricketts in a news release. “Our respective backgrounds in professional sports, finance, turnaround management, commercial real estate, marketing, and advertising, paired with our deep community ties, make for a powerful combination that will serve us well in reaching our ultimate goal: Building a championship organization on and off the pitch.

“Building a championship culture begins with treating our players with the respect they deserve as women and athletes. We look forward to completing this transaction so that we can begin this new chapter for the team and the fans.”

Ricketts is the leader of this group which includes many women business and civic leaders.

  • Angela E.L. Barnes – IDEO chief legal officer
  • Traci P. Beck, M.D.
  • Debra Cafaro – Ventas, Inc. chairman and CEO, Pittsburgh Penguins partner
  • Laura Desmon – chair and CEO
  • Sidney Dillard – Loop Capital partner, investment banker
  • Megan Murphy – LaCrosse Milling Company owner
  • Editha Paras – Non-profit executive
  • Jennifer Pritzker – TAWANI Enterprises, Inc. president and CEO
  • Hilary Rosen – Strategic communications consultant
  • Jessica Droste Yagan – Impact Engine partner and CEO
  • Tom O’Reilly – Entrepreneur
  • Engelhardt Family Office

Founded in 2006, the Red Stars began play in 2009 in Women’s Professional Soccer, where they would stay for two seasons. They’d join the Women’s Premier Soccer League for the 2011 season then Women’s Premier Soccer League Elite in 2012.

In 2013, they joined the NWSL where they currently play, having made seven appearances in the playoffs and two appearances in the league championship match (2019, 2021).