DC United fires general manager Lucy Rushton

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DC United on Wednesday fired General Manager Lucy Rushton after two seasons, including a 2022 campaign that ended with the worst record in MLS.

Rushton, a native of England, became the second female GM in league history when United hired her from the Atlanta organization in early 2021. She worked closely with Dave Kasper, DC’s longtime GM who, upon Rushton’s arrival, became the club’s sporting director and president of soccer operations.

Kasper will remain in his position, but the club has hired a search firm to identify a replacement to work alongside Kasper rather than under him, as Rushton did.

Wayne Rooney, the former star player who became United’s coach midseason, will have a say in the choice of Rushton’s replacement.

“The club’s on-field performance 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 greater community to compete at a high level. We are focused on bringing leadership that will work closely with Wayne Rooney and our management team to build a squad that once again competes at the top echelon of Major League Soccer.

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

United finished with a 7-21-6 record, one of its worst seasons in its 26-year history. The campaign was marred by an early-season coaching change: Hernán Losada was sacked after one-plus seasons and assistant Chad Ashton took the interim job before Rooney’s appointment.

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

Rushton was Atlanta’s head of video and technical analysis for five years. She did not immediately respond to a message Wednesday.

The new general manager, United said, “will have broad responsibility in all aspects of the first-team soccer operations, including roster makeup, player recruitment and talent identification, and will report directly to club ownership.”

Rushton’s dismissal was not the only change. Performance director Victor Lonchuk, who worked closely with the coaching staff on player preparation, was also fired. He had been hired by Losada.

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, said people familiar with the situation who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter.

United is in the market for an experienced assistant, preferably with MLS insight, to join Rooney’s staff. Rooney will choose from a number of candidates reviewed by the front office, said a person who did not want to be identified while discussing a club personnel matter.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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