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DC United fires general manager Lucy Rushton

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DC United on Wednesday sacked chief executive Lucy Rushton after two seasons, including a 2022 campaign that ended with the worst record in MLS.

Rushton, originally from England, became the second female general manager in league history when United hired her from the Atlanta organization in early 2021. She has worked closely with manager Dave Kasper longtime DC general who, upon Rushton’s arrival, became the club’s sporting director and chairman. football operations.

“The club’s performance on the pitch this season was unacceptable,” co-chairmen Jason Levien and Steve Kaplan said in a statement. “We owe it to our supporters, our players and our great community to compete at a high level. We are focused on building leadership that will work closely with Wayne Rooney and our management team to create a team that will once again compete at the top level of Major League Soccer.

“In order to accomplish this and grow as a club, we felt it was necessary to make this decision and bring in new leadership.”

Kasper will remain in his post, said people familiar with the situation who spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to discuss the matter. The club have hired a search firm to identify a replacement for Rushton. His successor would work alongside Kasper rather than under him, these people said.

Wayne Rooney, the former star player turned United manager mid-season, is expected to be part of the process.

United finished 7-21-6, one of the worst records in their 26-year history. The campaign was marred by a coaching change at the start of the season – Hernán Losada was sacked six games in his second year, and assistant Chad Ashton took care of caretaker duties until Rooney’s appointment – and multiple unbalanced defeats. The season ended with a four-game losing streak and a six-game winless rut.

United, which won the MLS Cup four times between 1996 and 2004, missed the playoffs three consecutive years and haven’t won a playoff game since 2015.

Following a 5-2 loss to FC Cincinnati in the Oct. 9 season finale, Rooney suggested the organization would make changes not only to the roster but also to personnel.

“It’s a lot of work for us now to make sure we bring in the right players, we bring in the players who are going to develop the squad,” he said. “There are small changes in the squad that also need to happen – which will happen.”

Rushton, who served as Atlanta’s video and technical analysis manager for five years, said by text Wednesday that she did not wish to comment. Levien, Kaplan and Kasper declined to comment, a club spokesperson said.

Before United signed Rushton, the only female MLS general manager was Lynne Meterparel with San Jose in 1999-2000, but she had more business responsibilities than influence on the roster.

Rushton’s dismissal came as she was negotiating new player contracts and working with Kasper and Rooney on roster decisions.

She wasn’t the only change on Wednesday. Performance director Victor Lonchuk, who worked closely with the coaching staff on player preparation, has also been sacked, United have announced. He had been hired by Losada in March.

Ashton, an assistant since 2007, will be reassigned within the organization, and assistant Nicolás Frutos, who was hired by Losada, will not return next season, people familiar with the situation have said.

United are looking for an experienced assistant, preferably with MLS knowledge, to join Rooney’s staff. Rooney will choose from a number of candidates put forward by the front office, said a person who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter.

Rodney N.

The author Rodney N.