International Women’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women around the world.
Major League Soccer is proud of all the women across the league, both on and off the field, who push our clubs to be their best at all times.
The women of MLS are integral to its success, and we celebrate them today and every day.
Meet a few of the women changing our game.
PRO official Kathryn Nesbitt is a force in officiating MLS matches.
In 2020 Nesbitt was named MLS Assistant Referee of the Year, becoming the first woman official to earn year-end recognition, either through an award or a championship assignment, in any of the five North American men’s professional sports leagues.
Nesbitt became the first female official to work a men’s professional final in America during MLS Cup 2020 and served on the 2022 FIFA World Cup officiating team as she continues to break barriers in officiating.
She made her MLS debut in 2015, earning her way onto the FIFA panel of assistant referees in 2016. Nesbitt was selected for the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France three years later.
From front offices to league headquarters, MLS boasts exceptional women leadership in executive positions. The league’s executives are consistently recognized for their business excellence in sports.
Carolyn Kindle is the majority owner and CEO of St. Louis CITY SC, Major League Soccer’s latest club. The expansion side is the first majority female-owned club in MLS history and one of the few in professional sports globally.
Anastasia Danias is Executive Vice President and General Counsel for Major League Soccer and its affiliates, where she is a key member of the league strategic and operational leadership team. She oversees all aspects of legal and business affairs, including league expansion, team acquisition, sale and investment, corporate governance, compliance, privacy, policy, litigation, labor, intellectual property and commercial transactions.
Danita Johnson is the president of business operations at D.C. United. She is the first Black president of an MLS club and is believed to be only the third woman in league history to serve in this role. Johnson joined MLS in Jan. 2021 after spending the previous two years as president and chief operating officer of the Los Angeles Sparks in the WNBA.
Erin Ridley is the first woman head coach of an MLS academy, leading the San Jose Earthquakes U13 boys team. She also assists with the U14 and U20 teams. A USSF A licensed coach, she is also a Youth National Team scout for US Soccer and has overseen the development of numerous college standouts, youth national team players, and professional players in a 15-year coaching career.
Stephanie Ludwig is the first female head athletic trainer in Portland Timbers history and is one of just two female head athletic trainers currently in MLS. She was promoted to head athletic trainer after two seasons as assistant athletic trainer. Ludwig is responsible for all matters related to mitigation, assessment, treatment and rehabilitation of all Timbers players. In addition, she runs point on compliance with MLS medical policies and in-market requirements and protocols.
Alyssa and Gisele Thompson are standout athletes who are playing alongside the boys at Total Futbol Academy in MLS NEXT. The sisters were the first two high school athletes in the nation to secure a NIL deal and Alyssa was recently selected No. 1 overall in the NWSL Draft by Angel City FC.