Camille Ashton, GM of Kansas City Current, resigns amidst unbeaten start

Camille Ashton, the general manager of the Kansas City Current, has made the decision to step down from her position, as announced by the club on Wednesday. This comes at a time when the team remains undefeated after playing 10 games this season and currently holds the second spot in the National Women’s Soccer League table.

“I am incredibly grateful for my experience in Kansas City,” Ashton expressed in a heartfelt statement. “It was my utmost priority to devote myself to the task of cultivating a triumphant 2024 season, and I am immensely proud of the championship-worthy team we have assembled, which currently ranks among the league’s elite. As I embark on the next chapter of my personal and professional voyage, I eagerly anticipate the opportunities that lie ahead.”

The club has accepted her resignation and wishes her the best in her future endeavors. They did not provide any further details.

During Ashton’s time in the NWSL from 2014-2017, she was responsible for overseeing the Current’s most successful moments, such as the recent inauguration of their own dedicated stadium, as well as navigating through the team’s various challenges throughout its relatively short existence.

In January 2022, Ashton joined the Current as their GM for the team’s second NWSL season. Under her leadership, the team made a remarkable appearance in the NWSL Championship that same year. Ashton also orchestrated a series of notable signings during the league’s first free-agency period, including the talented Brazilian playmaker, Debinha.

In 2023, the team experienced a tumultuous period. Matt Potter, the coach who led the team to the final, was unexpectedly fired just hours before a road game in the early part of the season, following three consecutive losses.

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Players were caught off guard by the club’s decision to dismiss him, citing “concerns regarding his leadership and work obligations.” The abruptness of the move left the players bewildered on the day of the game.

Under the guidance of interim coach Caroline Sjoblom, Kansas City endured the remainder of the 2023 season, ultimately securing a second-to-last position in the table, with a mere two-point lead over the Chicago Red Stars, who finished in last place.

In October, the club made a significant hire by bringing on board 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 for four years, brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the club. However, the addition of the “sporting director” title to Andonovski’s role seemed to create some overlap with Ashton’s responsibilities as the general manager.

Andonovski established his reputation as a coach in the NWSL while leading the previous Kansas City franchise, FC Kansas City, from 2013 to 2017. Under his guidance, the team clinched two NWSL Championships, showcasing his talent for scouting and acquiring skilled players. Before Andonovski took charge, Ashton was primarily responsible for managing these responsibilities.

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

The Current made smart moves by adding two talented teenagers to their roster. One of them is Claire Hutton, who has proven to be a valuable asset as the starting defensive midfielder. Since then, the team has been on a winning streak and remains undefeated as they near the midway mark of the NWSL season.

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Off the field, Kansas City has been facing public scrutiny regarding player transactions. Numerous players who were traded away from the team expressed surprise and disappointment, claiming that they were not informed beforehand about the trades. This practice has been confirmed by sources within the NWSL.

Kansas City made the decision to trade Alex Loera, their defensive midfielder, to the newly formed team, Bay FC, in November. Loera expressed his surprise and disappointment about the trade in an Instagram post, stating that he had not anticipated it. He also mentioned that he had previously shared his loyalty and commitment to Kansas City and his intention to honor the contract he had signed with the team.

In a surprising turn of events, the Current made the decision to trade forward Cece Kizer to the Houston Dash, acquiring Nichelle Prince in return. For Kizer, this unexpected trade marked an abrupt end to her time with the team. Expressing her feelings on Instagram, she shared, “This isn’t something I asked for or expected. There was no conversation about this possibility. It’s disheartening to have to leave behind our home and the life we’ve built off the pitch in such a short notice. Despite the pain of this happening right after expressing my desire to be a part of Kansas City’s history, I am grateful for the past year and a half. While we mourn the loss of our life in KC, we are also looking forward to our next adventure.”

Ashton empathized with the media during the post-trade interview and highlighted the club’s utilization of league rules that enable player trades.

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In January 2023, during draft day, Kansas City made a trade, sending United States women’s national team forward Lynn Williams to NJ/NY Gotham FC. The trade came as a surprise to Williams, who learned about it just moments before it was announced. What made it even more unexpected was the fact that she was in camp with the USWNT in New Zealand, on the other side of the world.

Two months later, a mother accused Kansas City, specifically Ashton, of mistreating her daughter, Mykiaa Minniss, a third-round draft pick for the club on that January night. Unfortunately, The Current waived Minniss during the 2023 preseason.

The Kansas City team has not specified a timeframe for finding a replacement for Ashton. However, in the meantime, Caitlin Carducci, who was appointed as the team’s director of soccer operations in November, will take on the role of interim general manager until a suitable replacement is found.

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