In March 2024, the Kansas City Current will finally achieve its vision for a purpose-built stadium when CPKC Stadium opens at the Berkley Riverfront area in Kansas City.
And at this critical juncture in club history — that also includes a new manager and sporting director in Vlatko Andonovski — the Current have hired a new president.
The Current announced the appointment of Raven Jemison as new team president on Thursday morning. Jemison comes to the Current after a three-year stint as the executive vice president of business operations for the Milwaukee Bucks.
“Raven is a strategic executive with best-in-class training and deep familiarity with the world of sports,” Current co-owner Angie Long said in the team’s press release. “She is extremely intelligent, driven and someone people want to follow.”
Allison Howard, who served as the team president since May of last year, has moved into a role as advisor to the board for the Kansas City Current. Angie and Chris Long thanked Howard for her contributions to the club in the team release.
Jemison’s resume boasts experience from four of America’s major sports leagues, working with the Florida Panthers in the NHL, Pittsburgh Pirates in MLB and the San Francisco 49ers in the NFL. Her NBA experience came as a team executive with the Bucks and in the league office.
All it took was one conversation with Angie Long, who Jemison says “could sell ice to an Eskimo,” for Jemison to be enticed by Long’s vision for the Current.
“As a leader who’s been in various leagues and various levels of leadership, a clear vision is not easily come by,” Jemison told The Star in an interview on Friday.
Jemison said she was sold by Long’s clear vision for the team and the role she wants the Current to play in Kansas City. After an in-person visit, Jemison admits she had “a bit of FOMO” (fear of missing out).
“If I don’t take this opportunity, what am I missing out on?” Jemison said. “The skyrocketing growth of the NWSL, what the Kansas City Current is doing in the region and just in general women’s sports, I felt like I’d be missing out.”
Jemison also noted the overall growth of the NWSL.
In November of 2023, the league announced a 40-fold growth in investment into the league through broadcast rights partnerships. In addition, the league is expanding to 14 teams for the 2024 season, with a 15th team in Boston set to join in 2026, alongside a 16th team for which the application process will begin soon.
In Kansas City, the Current has continued to lay down permanent roots in the community, with CPKC Stadium scheduled to open this spring as the first purpose-built stadium for a women’s soccer team in the world.
Jemison also noted the importance of the team’s positive role in the community. She hopes to bring that feeling about the club to Kansas City and build the club’s business operation in line with that vision.
“While we have a beautiful stadium that is being built on the riverfront and we have a team that will compete for championships,” Jemison said, “our goal is to be that steward of the community and think about things that actually affect Kansas City and the region more positively.”
In her work in the NBA league office, Jemison was an account manager within the team-marketing and business-operations groups. In that role, she saw a lot of what worked and what didn’t for teams in their business operations — including both G League and WNBA teams.
Jemison says she wants to pull from that knowledge to help the Current create best practices and what she calls “next practices,” setting an example for other teams around the league as growth in women’s pro sports continues. Whether it’s opening their own purpose-built stadium or a variety of other steps forward, Jemison wants the Current to be the example.
“While there are some things that I can take from a best practices standpoint,” Jemison said, “we’re really trying to do things differently such that we are the standard.”