Work in Sports
Wizards name new GM
Posted: Thursday November 18, 1999 09:06 PM
ATLANTA (CNN/SI) -- The Kansas City Wizards announced Thursday that Curt Johnson has been appointed as the Major League Soccer club's general manager.
Johnson, who will begin work at the club Monday, will be in charge of player personnel matters and team-related issues. He will also be involved with sales and marketing for the organization. The club's sales and marketing are carried out in tandem with the Kansas City Wizards; both teams are operated by the Hunt family, which also runs the Columbus Crew of MLS.
Johnson's first obligations are to prepare for the 2000 MLS draft, which takes place on February 6, and to finalize the Wizards spring-training plans.
Johnson replaces Doug Newman, who stepped down in October. Others considered for the K.C. job included John Borozzi of the Miami Fusion.
"This is a tremendous opportunity that I am very grateful for," Johnson said. "To be a part of the Hunt organization and to work with head coach Bob Gansler and what they have done for the sport of soccer is an honor. We all share the same goal, however, which is to put a top quality product on the field and carry ourselves well off of it. Last year is over and we are only looking forward now."
Johnson served as the vice president and general manager of the Richmond Kickers, a United Soccer League (A-League) professional soccer club in Richmond, Virginia, from 1998-99. His responsibilities included marketing, sponsorship sales, ticket sales and signing players.
Under Johnson's tenure as general manager, the Kickers compiled a regular season record of 39-20 (.661) over two seasons, including a 17-11 mark in 1999.
"Curt Johnson has demonstrated the ability to build a successful franchise while with the Richmond Kickers," Wizards investor-operator Clark Hunt said. "He has the right combination of talent to help the Wizards improve their performance at the gate and build a championship team."
Previously, Johnson was an assistant men's soccer coach for his alma mater, North Carolina State University, during the 1996 season and an assistant coach for the A-League Raleigh Flyers in 1995. He served as the midwest region's marketing director for adidas from 1992-94.
On the field, Johnson was a four-year starter at defender for N.C. State and was the team captain his senior year, when the Wolfpack won the Atlantic Coast Championship and advanced to the NCAA semi-finals in 1990.
Johnson, 30, is married to Susan and they have one daughter, Olivia, who is 16 months and are expecting another child in February.
"Curt Johnson is a young, energetic soccer administrator who has learned his craft while leading the Richmond Kickers front office the last three years," Gansler said. "Personally, I have known him for a decade and I expect that we will cooperate well together. Our combined efforts will surely put a better team on the field next season."