Danita Johnson becomes first black female president of a major league soccer team

Earlier this week, D.C. United soccer team announced that it will appoint Danita Johnson as its new President of Operations. This comes are major league soccer is becoming more popular within the United States. Once the process is complete, Johnson will become the first Black woman to become president of a major soccer league in the US.

Prior to the announcement of her new role, Johnson worked in the WNBA as the president and chief operating officer of the Los Angeles Sparks. She described the experience as one that prepared her for the next phase of her career.

“I’ve learned a lot from my time with the WNBA, especially the Los Angeles Sparks organization, and I’ll be forever grateful to the league for how it has lifted me up both personally and professionally,” Johnson said in a press statement. “I look forward to bringing my versatile background and leadership experience from my time working for various organizations for other professional sports leagues across the country to Major League Soccer.”

Johnson will also become the third woman ever to occupy her new position, and would resume her new office this month. She will also become one of the highest-ranking female soccer club executives in league history. During her time with the Los Angeles Sparks, the team saw top corporate sponsorship and a 50% increase in ticket sales between 2014 and 2017.

Before her time with the Sparks, Johnson worked with the WNBA’s Washington Mystics, Detroit Shock, and the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers, amongst others.

“After conducting a thorough search process, we are confident that Danita Johnson is the right person to lead our business and help take our club to new heights,” said Jason Levien, co-chairman and CEO of D.C. United, in a statement. “Throughout her career, Danita has demonstrated the ability to develop a positive and inspiring work culture, and she has done a tremendous job connecting with the communities which she has lived and worked.”

In her new role as President of Operations at the D.C. United, Johnson will be responsible for growing the fan base, sponsorships, and organizing non-MLS events at Audi Field. She will also oversee Loudoun United’s business, a Leesburg-based second division team owned by the D.C. United organization.

“It is my belief that establishing a winning culture off the field impacts every aspect of the business, from fan interactions to community engagement, and I am committed to doing just this for one of the most storied and decorated clubs in American soccer history,” she said.

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