Kansas City Current GM Camille Ashton resigns amid unbeaten start

Camille Ashton has resigned from her role as general manager of the Kansas City Current, the club announced on Wednesday, with the club unbeaten through 10 games this season and second in the National Women's Soccer League table.

"I am thankful for my time in Kansas City," Ashton said in a statement. "It was important to me to dedicate my time and efforts to ensure a successful 2024 season by building the championship-caliber roster that's currently near the top of the table. I am proud of what we have accomplished here. I look forward to the next step in my personal and professional journey."

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The club did not provide further details, but said in a statement that it "accepted her resignation and wishes her the best in her future endeavors."

Ashton, who played in the NWSL from 2014-17, oversaw the Current's highest highs -- including the recent opening of a purpose-built stadium -- and several of its lows in the team's brief history to date.

She was hired as the Current's GM in January 2022 ahead of the team's second NWSL season. The team made an appearance in the NWSL Championship later that year and, led by Ashton, made a series of high-profile signings in the league's first free-agency period, including Brazilian playmaker Debinha.

A tumultuous 2023 followed, however. Matt Potter, the coach who had guided the team to that final, was fired abruptly hours before a road game early in 2023 after Kansas City began the season with three straight losses.

At the time, the club cited "issues around his leadership and employment responsibilities" as the reason for his firing. Players were left confused by the decision on that game day.

Kansas City spent the rest of the 2023 season under interim coach Caroline Sjoblom and finished second bottom in the table, two points above the last-place Chicago Red Stars.

In October, the club hired Vlatko Andonovski, following his four-year run as head coach of the United States women's team, as its new head coach and sporting director. The addition of the "sporting director" title to Andonovski's role appeared to directly overlap with Ashton's job as GM.

Andonovski made his name as a coach in the NWSL with the previous Kansas City franchise, FC Kansas City, from 2013-2017. He guided the team to two NWSL Championships during that time and became known for his ability to scout and acquire talented players. Prior to Andonovski's arrival, Ashton primarily handled most of those tasks.

Kansas City underwent a drastic roster overhaul this offseason following Andonovski's hiring, including the acquisitions of Brazilian forward Bia Zaneratto and Malawian forward Temwa Chawinga.

The Current also signed a pair of teenagers, including starting defensive midfielder Claire Hutton. Success has followed; the Current are unbeaten as they approach the halfway point of the NWSL season.

Off the field, Kansas City continued to publicly navigate issues with player transactions. Several players who have been traded away from Kansas City said afterward they were blindsided by the trades, with sources around the NWSL corroborating the general practice by Kansas City.

Kansas City traded defensive midfielder Alex Loera to expansion side Bay FC in November. Loera said in an Instagram post: "I was not expecting this trade. It is incredibly disheartening to know that this took place after I had expressed my feelings about the kind of loyal person I am & my desire to finish out the contract I had agreed to with KC."

Two months later, the Current traded forward Cece Kizer to the Houston Dash in return for Nichelle Prince. Kizer called it "an abrupt end" in an Instagram post, adding: "This isn't something I asked for or expected. No conversation this could happen. Nothing. My fiancé and I have a home here, we have a life off the pitch, and now we have a week to pack it all up & say our goodbyes. It hurts this happened after I expressed my desire to be apart of more KC history, but thank you for the last year & a half. As we grieve our life here in KC, we are also excited for our next adventure."

Speaking to media following the trade, Ashton expressed empathy and pointed to the club utilizing league rules that allow for player trades.

Kansas City traded United States women's national team forward Lynn Williams to NJ/NY Gotham FC on draft day in January 2023. Williams expressed similar surprise following the trade, which she found out about only moments before it was announced, and while she was in camp with the USWNT in New Zealand, halfway around the world.

Two months later, the mother of one of the players drafted by Kansas City on that January night alleged that the club -- specifically Ashton -- mistreated her daughter, third-round draft pick Mykiaa Minniss. The Current waived Minniss during 2023 preseson.

Kansas City did not provide a timeline for replacing Ashton. Caitlin Carducci, who was hired as the team's director of soccer operations in November, will serve as interim general manager while the team searches for a replacement.