Danita Johnson Makes History as the 1st Black President of a Major League Soccer Team

Meet 37-year old Danita Johnson, who has been named the new President of Business Operations for the D.C. United soccer team making her the first-ever Black president in Major League Soccer (MLS). She is also one of the few women who are in the highest executive ranks in the league’s history.

Johnson also serves as the president and Chief Operating Officer of the WNBA team Los Angeles Sparks, bringing an increase in its ticket sales by 50% from 2014 and 2017 as well as top corporate sponsorships. Prior to that, she also worked with the WNBA’s Washington Mystics and Detroit Shock and the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers, and the NBA G League’s Bakersfield Jam.

“I’ve learned a lot from my time with the WNBA, especially the Los Angeles Sparks organization,” Johnson said in a statement. “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.”

With nearly a two-decade sports career under her belt, D.C. United CEO and co-chairman, Jason Levien said Johnson is expected to lead the team’s business and bring developments to the club.

“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 in which she has lived and worked,” Levien said. “We are thrilled that she has agreed to join us at this critical moment in D.C. United’s trajectory.”

Johnson will help with advertising the team to grow its fanbase and sponsorships. She will also be responsible for arranging non-MLS events and overseeing Loudoun United’s business, a second-division team also owned by the D.C. organization.

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