Danita Johnson has entered into the record books for becoming the first black person to be named president of a soccer club in the Major League Soccer (MLS). She didn’t just become a black person to be so honored, she became the first black woman to get to such a height.
In December 2020, DC United decided to appoint her as the club’s new president. Her role is to preside over business-related aspects of the club, focus majorly on growing the fan base of the club, and attract sponsorships.
The last person to handle such a position in DC United which has been vacant since 2017 was Tom Hunt. The position does not permit Danita Johnson to sign new players even though she would be carrying a presidential tag at the club.
The 37-year-old business administrator was occupying a similar role at WNBA side Los Angeles Sparks. She served in that position for two years before her new appointment. She has also worked with L.A. Clippers and Washington Mystics in 2013 and 2014.
While revealing how she felt when the news broke that she has been appointed the president of DC United, she said she didn’t know how big the appointment was until she started reading news headlines about it.
“When everything came out I was fine for most of the day, but one of the times I paused and read the headlines to myself. I was sitting on my bed and I started to cry a little bit”, Danita Johnson told Sky Sports.
“I didn’t realize the impact of what this meant until it became public, and what that meant for so many people in black and brown communities, and women, and to truly be a part of history and create a place for inspiration.”
On how the MLS is gradually growing due to the caliber of players the league has been attracting, Danita Johnson said the powerful players the league is bringing to the United States is changing the game.
“That’s one of the things that play into this – getting the youth in early, educating people about the players”, she told Sky Sports.
“Let’s not pretend people across the world don’t know about this sport. They should be as high-profile when you look at the NFL and NBA…
“When I look at this opportunity with D.C. United, it’s just phenomenal. The way that soccer has taken over the U.S. With us being in our nation’s capital, with the new stadium, there is so much technology and movement in the sport. There’s so much possibility of what we can do.”
Danita Johnson is expected to return to Washington DC this January to resume her position at DC United. She might likely become one of the newsmakers in the league in 2021 as far as her position as the business leader of DC United is concerned.