Unbeaten Start Leads to Resignation of Kansas City Current GM Camille Ashton

Camille Ashton, the general manager of the Kansas City Current, has decided to step down from her position, as announced by the club on Wednesday. This comes at a time when the team has been performing exceptionally well, remaining unbeaten in all 10 games of the season and currently holding the second position in the National Women’s Soccer League table.

“I am truly grateful for the incredible experience I had in Kansas City,” Ashton expressed sincerely. “During my tenure, my utmost priority was to devote my time and energy towards establishing a victorious 2024 season by assembling a roster of exceptional caliber, which has now positioned us near the pinnacle of the league. I take immense pride in the remarkable achievements we have attained together. Now, I eagerly anticipate embarking on the next phase of my personal and professional voyage.”

The club, in a statement, announced that they have accepted her resignation and expressed their well wishes for her future endeavors. However, they did not provide any additional details regarding the matter.

Ashton, a former player in the NWSL from 2014-17, witnessed both the triumphs and challenges of the Current during their short existence. They were instrumental in achieving significant milestones for the team, such as the recent inauguration of a state-of-the-art stadium.

In January 2022, she took on the role of the Current’s GM, just in time for the team’s second NWSL season. Under her leadership, the team went on to make a remarkable appearance in the NWSL Championship. Ashton’s strategic approach also led to a string of notable signings during the league’s inaugural free-agency period, including the talented Brazilian playmaker, Debinha.

In 2023, there was a tumultuous turn of events. Matt Potter, the coach who led the team to the final, was unexpectedly fired just hours before a road game, as the team had started the season with three consecutive losses.

The club terminated his contract, citing concerns about his leadership and work commitments. This decision left the players in a state of confusion on the day of the game.

Kansas City had interim coach Caroline Sjoblom for the remainder of the 2023 season. They ended up finishing second from the bottom in the table, just two points ahead of the last-place Chicago Red Stars.

In October, the club made a significant move by hiring Vlatko Andonovski as the new head coach and sporting director. Andonovski, who previously served as the head coach of the United States women’s team, brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the position. The decision to include the “sporting director” title in Andonovski’s role raised questions about potential overlap with Ashton’s responsibilities as the GM.

Andonovski established his reputation as a coach in the NWSL while leading the former Kansas City franchise, FC Kansas City, from 2013 to 2017. During this period, he successfully guided the team to two NWSL Championships and gained recognition for his exceptional talent scouting and player acquisition abilities. Before Andonovski’s tenure, Ashton was primarily responsible for managing these responsibilities.

Kansas City made significant changes to their roster during the offseason after Andonovski was hired. They brought in Brazilian forward Bia Zaneratto and Malawian forward Temwa Chawinga.

The Current has recently added two talented teenagers to their roster, with Claire Hutton taking on the role of starting defensive midfielder. Since their arrival, the team has been on a winning streak and remains undefeated as they reach the halfway point of the NWSL season.

Kansas City faced public scrutiny for their handling of player transactions off the field. Multiple players who were traded away from the team expressed surprise and feeling blindsided by the trades. This sentiment was supported by sources within the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), highlighting a pattern of behavior by Kansas City.

Kansas City made a trade in November, sending defensive midfielder Alex Loera to expansion side Bay FC. In an Instagram post, Loera expressed surprise and disappointment about the trade, stating that it was unexpected and disheartening. He also mentioned that he had previously shared his loyalty and commitment to finishing out his contract with Kansas City.

Two months later, the Current traded forward Cece Kizer to the Houston Dash in exchange for Nichelle Prince. Kizer expressed her surprise and disappointment in an Instagram post, stating that this sudden move was not something she had anticipated or requested. She highlighted the impact this decision had on her personal life, mentioning that she and her fiancé had built a home and a life off the pitch in Kansas City. With only a week to pack up and say their goodbyes, Kizer acknowledged the pain of leaving after expressing her desire to contribute to Kansas City’s soccer history. Despite the sadness, she also expressed excitement for the new adventure that awaits her and her fiancé.

In a media interview after the trade, Ashton showed understanding and highlighted how the club took advantage of the league rules that permit player trades.

In January 2023, during draft day, Kansas City made a trade that involved sending Lynn Williams, a forward for the United States women’s national team, to NJ/NY Gotham FC. The news of the trade came as a surprise to Williams, who found out about it just moments before it was announced. Interestingly, she learned about the trade while she was in camp with the USWNT in New Zealand, which was halfway across the world.

In a shocking turn of events, a serious allegation has been made against the Kansas City team and specifically Ashton, regarding the mistreatment of one of their players. The mother of Mykiaa Minniss, a third-round draft pick, has come forward with claims of misconduct. This accusation comes just two months after Minniss was drafted by the team. Unfortunately, the situation took a drastic turn as Minniss was waived by The Current during the 2023 preseason. The details surrounding this incident are yet to be fully revealed.

The Kansas City team did not specify a timeline for finding a replacement for Ashton. In the meantime, Caitlin Carducci, who joined as the team’s director of soccer operations in November, will step in as the interim general manager until a suitable replacement is found.

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