Sports Envoy
Sports Envoy Program

Cobi Jones

Soccer

Served as envoy

  • 2014  –  Burma
  • 2014  –  Brazil
  • 2015  –  Tonga
  • 2015  –  Fiji
  • 2021  –  Virtual

Cobi Jones is a Southern California sports legend, maintaining the title of the longest standing member of the LA Galaxy dynasty. LA’s “Original Cobi,” spent 15 seasons with the Galaxy, as both a player and coach from 1996 – 2010. A 2011 US Soccer Hall of Fame inductee, Cobi is a two-time MLS Cup winner (2002, 2005) with a storied international career with the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team. A permanent fixture with the team from 1992- 2004, he played in three World Cups (1994, 1998, 2002) and has the most international appearances for the Men’s side with 164 caps. He is also a 1992 Olympian. Prior to his MLS career, Cobi played overseas with Coventry City (English Premier League) and the Brazilian side, Vasco de Gama.

Today, Cobi is one of the sport’s preeminent broadcasters working with FOX Sports, where he was part of both the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup and 2018 FIFA World Cup broadcast teams, both as a game analyst (2018) and co-hosting World Cup Tonight (2018-2019). He is the lead English language analyst for Fox’s coverage of Liga MX, Mexico’s top professional soccer league. He has also covered the Bundesliga, US Men’s National Team games, CONCACAF Champions League, the Gold Cup, and various FIFA tournaments for Fox. Cobi has been in the booth as the color commentator calling the LA Galaxy matches since 2012 for Spectrum SportsNet (formerly Time Warner Cable), Pac-12 Network, BeIn Sports, Next VR and he was also part of the 2012 NBC Olympic coverage.

A UCLA Hall of Famer and 1990 NCAA Champion with the Bruins, Cobi works closely with the LA2028 Olympic Committee, The Rose Bowl Institute, the LA84 Foundation, Cal South, AYSO, the US Soccer Foundation, and others. He represented the White House as part of the Presidential Delegation, attending both the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final in Canada and the 2014 FIFA Men’s World Cup Final in Brazil. He is also consistently part of the US State Department’s Sports Envoy.

In the Fall of 2020, it was announced that Cobi joined the esteemed ranks as one of the founding investor owners of the NWSL’s newest team, Angel City FC, brining women’s professional soccer to Los Angeles. Cobi joins sports greats Mia Hamm, Julie Foudy, Serena Williams, actresses Natalie Portman, Jennifer Garner, America Ferrara and other notable names as part of the ownership group that is moving the needle for parity and equality in sports.

In an effort to work toward racial equality, improve the gender pay gap and continue to help elevate American soccer on a global level, Cobi will work with US Soccer and the US Soccer Foundation to bring his passion and commitment to the beautiful game to another level.

Chinenye “Chiney” Ogwumike

Basketball

Served as envoy

  • 2015  –  Brazil

Chinenye “Chiney” Ogwumike is a professional basketball player for The Los Angeles Sparks of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA). Chiney holds the record for most rebounds in the history of Stanford Women’s Basketball and the Pac-12 Conference.

In 2014, Ogwumike signed an endorsement deal with Nike soon after being drafted first overall in the WNBA. As of 2016, Ogwumike was elected Vice-President of the WNBA Players Association, and signed an endorsement deal with Adidas. In May 2018, Ogwumike signed a multi-year contract with ESPN to become a full-time in-sports analyst.

Allyson Felix

Track & Field

Served as envoy

  • 2014  –  Brazil

Allyson Felix is a track and field sprinter who competes in the 100 meters, 200 meters, and 400 meter races. She is a 2012 Olympic champion, a 3-time World champion (2005-09) and 2-time Olympic silver medalist of 200 meters. A 2015 World champion, 2011 World silver medalist, 2016 Olympic silver medalist, and 2017 World bronze medalist.

Felix also won five additional Olympic gold medals as a member of the United States’ women’s relay teams. Her 200 meters best of 21.69 seconds from 2012 ranks 6th on the all-time list. In the 4 x 400 meter relay at the 2015 World Championships, she ran the fastest split ever recorded by an American woman, and third fastest split ever after Jarmila Kratochvilova and Marita Koch, with 47.72.

Joshua George

Track & Field Paralympics

Served as envoy

  • 2014  –  Brazil

Josh learned to navigate the world by wheelchair and was soon exploring everything available in the realm of adapted athletics, participating in basketball, track, field, archery, table tennis and swimming with a wheelchair sports organization for children in Baltimore, Maryland. Basketball and racing quickly became his stand-out sports.

Flying soon became a regular and important part of Josh’s existence. Competitive basketball led him to Brazil and Australia before he graduated from high school. At the University of Illinois, he began training with his now long-time coach Adam Bleakney, placed first in three Chicago Marathons and eventually took another flight. This time to Athens for the 2004 Paralympic games where he received two bronze medals and lost any remaining doubt that racing was his calling.

Four years later, in Beijing, Josh brought home silver and gold, and set a Paralympics record for the Men’s 100m. He followed up this performance with a bronze medal in the 800m at his third Paralympic Games in London as a full-fledged professional racer.

While he didn’t crack the podium at the Paralympic Games in Rio, Josh’s successes became more frequent. In the four years following the London Parlaympics Josh became a fixture in the top five at major races, success highlighted by exciting, sprint-finish wins in the 2014 Chicago Marathon and 2015 London Marathon, and 2nd and 3rd place finishes at the New York City Marathon in 2015 and 2016, respectively.

Erikka Gulbranson

Volleyball

Served as envoy

  • 2008  –  Brazil

Erikka has had 28 years in the sport of volleyball with her experience ranging from playing, coaching, directing and managing youth, collegiate, USA and international teams. As a founder in Sports Academy, she has been instrumental in the development of sports programming. With her extensive knowledge of sports curriculum and implementation, she will lead Sports Academy athletes into the full-circle development model through systematic training sessions, clinics, and camps.

Erikka grew up locally, is a volleyball & softball alumni of Thousand Oaks High School as well as So Cal VBC & Zuma Bay VBC. She is married and holds an M.S. in Education, a B.S. in Physical Education, and a California Teaching Credential. She spent 10+ years in several So Cal school districts teaching physical education and developing fitness & sports curriculum for elementary schools. She is also a USAV C.A.P. III certified teaching instructor and National Teams Master Coach.

Ashley Dean

Volleyball

Served as envoy

  • 2008  –  Brazil

Ashley Dean is a former volleyball for Dartmouth College. She grew up playing soccer, softball, and volleyball but decided to exclusively play volleyball during her sophomore year of high school. As a senior, her volleyball skills earned her recognition as La Jolla High’s female athlete of the year. During her first year at Dartmouth, she averaged 13 digs over 10 games, including 30 digs against Princeton during the Ivy League tourney. As a sophomore, she set a record for 476 digs during one season and was ranked 12th in the nation. Her skills earned her All-Ivy first team selection.

Linda Hamilton

Soccer

Served as envoy

  • 2007  –  Philippines
  • 2010  –  Ivory Coast
  • 2011  –  Brazil
  • 2013  –  Chile
  • 2014  –  Bangladesh
  • 2015  –  Burma
  • 2016  –  China
  • 2019  –  Egypt

Linda Hamilton enters her fifth season as head coach of the Southwestern women’s soccer team, coming off a season in which she was named the SCAC Coach of the Year, leading the Pirates to the SCAC Championship match.

Hamilton brings a wealth of experience to the program, both as a player and coach. She played collegiately at North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina, earning All-America status and all-conference honors all four years. She was named the Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year in 1988. Hamilton was a member of the United States National Team, where she played in 82 international matches. She helped the team to a World Cup gold medal in 1991 and bronze in 1995.

Hamilton, who owns a United States Soccer Federation “A” coaching license, got her start in coaching at Old Dominion University as the team’s head coach from 1993 to 1995. She later served as an assistant at Hofstra University (2006-2007) and most recently served as head coach at the University of North Florida (2007-2013). She has additionally worked with the Easter Seals and National Multiple Sclerosis Society (2002-2006), serving as director of development.

Jason Collins

Basketball

Served as envoy

  • 2015  –  Brazil
  • 2016  –  Angola

Jason Collins is an American professional basketball player of the National Basketball As-sociation (NBA).

Collins attended Stanford University, where he was an All-American in the 2000-2001 sea-son. He was also named to the All Pac-10 First Team and awarded the NABC Pete Newell “Big Man of the Year” Award. He finished his college career ranked first in Stanford history for field goal percentage and third in blocked shots. Upon graduating with a B.A. from Stan-ford, Collins was selected in the first round of the 2001 NBA Draft with the 18th overall pick. Now a 13-year veteran, Collins has played center for six teams including New Jersey, Mem-phis, Minnesota, Atlanta, Boston, Washington and, most recently, the Brooklyn Nets (former-ly the New Jersey Nets). Doc Rivers, who coached Collins during his time with the Boston Celtics, said of Collins: “He’s the best. He literally is one of the best guys I’ve ever had in the locker room, player or coach.” In his 13 years in the league, Collins’ teams earned 10 trips to the playoffs including 2 NBA Finals appearances.

After the 2012-13 NBA season concluded, Collins publicly came out as gay in a cover story for Sports Illustrated, becoming the first male active player in any of the four major American professional sports to announce that he is gay. President Obama expressed his gratitude to Collins for his courageous announcement and said he “couldn’t be prouder” of Collins, rec-ognizing this as a point of progress for the LGBT community, and one more step in America’s goal to treat everyone fairly and with respect. Collins has traveled the country with the mis-sion of empowering people to live their lives as their true selves, and has become an active member of numerous charities, foundations and organizations. In 2013, GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, honored Collins with the Courage Award at the GLSEN Respect Awards. In 2014, Logo TV honored Collins with its inaugural Trailblazer Award. Also in 2014, the Matthew Shepard Foundation honored Collins with its Making a Difference Award at its annual Honors Gala.

In April 2014, Collins was featured on the cover of Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World.” He currently serves on the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition, which works to motivate Americans to adopt a healthy lifestyle via physical activity and nutrition. Collins resides in Los Angeles, California.

Jeremy Guthrie

Baseball

Served as envoy

  • 2015  –  Panama
  • 2017  –  Nigeria
  • 2018  –  Brazil
  • 2020  –  Virtual

Beginning his baseball career as the starting pitcher at Stanford University, Jeremy Guthrie currently plays for the Eastern Reyes del Tigre of the Constellation Energy League, but played for 15 years in MLB for the Cleveland Indians, Baltimore Orioles, Colorado Rockies, Kansas City Royals, and the Washington Nationals.

Guthrie pitched for Team USA in the 2009 World Baseball Classic. During his time with the Kansas City Royals, he logged the most innings of his career during the 2013 season with 211⅔. He finished with a 15–12 record and a 4.04 ERA. The 2014 season Guthrie posted a 4.13 ERA over 202.2 innings and finished the regular season with a record of 13–11.

Guthrie is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) and he served for two years as a missionary for the church in Spain. On February 1, 2018, Guthrie began a three-year assignment as president of its Texas Houston South Mission for the LDS church.

Tiffany Roberts-Sahaydak

Soccer

Served as envoy

  • 2006  –  Uganda
  • 2007  –  Philippines
  • 2010  –  Thailand
  • 2011  –  Brazil
  • 2014  –  Brazil
  • 2015  –  Indonesia
  • 2017  –  Belarus
  • 2017  –  Albania
  • 2019  –  Egypt

An Olympic gold medalist, World Cup champion and two-time NCAA champion, Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak was named head women’s soccer coach at UCF in May 2013.

A three-time American Athletic Conference Coach of the Year, Roberts Sahaydak has wasted no time in putting her stamp on UCF’s successful program. Under her guidance, the Knights have earned four NCAA Tournament bids and four American Athletic Conference championships while boasting 11 conference Player of the Year awards and 38 all-league and tournament selections.

In her first season (2013), she led UCF to a school-record unbeaten streak (18 matches), an NSCAA national standing through much of the year and the program’s first undefeated conference season since 1999. In addition, UCF made history as the first program to win an American Athletic Conference Championship.

Roberts Sahaydak came to Orlando after serving six seasons at VCU alongside her co-head coach, husband and current UCF associate head coach Tim Sahaydak.

Roberts Sahaydak spent a decade with the U.S. National Team from 1994-2004, earning 112 caps (with 60 starts). Her career was highlighted by three women’s World Cups – among them, the unforgettable 1999 championship – and a gold medal with the 1996 Olympic team.

After retiring from the USWNT, she has served as an ambassador for U.S. Soccer with the U.S. Department of State Sports Envoy Program since 2007, promoting the power and benefit of sport internationally. With the program, she has visited Indonesia, Uganda, the Philippines, Thailand, Namibia, Brazil and France. In 2014, she was appointed to President Barack Obama’s Presidential Delegation to the Federative Republic of Brazil at the opening of the FIFA World Cup in Brazil. She is a native of San Ramon, Calif., and was selected as the 1994 California High School Player of the Year.

She was a three-time Parade High School All-American, a three-time NSCAA All-American and was the two-time National Girl’s High School Player of the Year. She debuted for the Stars and Stripes in 1994 when she was only 16 as one of the youngest players ever to suit up for the National Team. She played in her first FIFA Women’s World Cup a month after her 18th birthday and won Olympic gold before she was out of her teens (USSoccer.com).

As a collegian, Roberts Sahaydak was a standout midfielder for North Carolina (1995-98) as a three-time All-ACC First Team selection. She led the Tar Heels to two NCAA titles (1996, 1997) during her tenure, was voted the 1998 ACC Tournament MVP and finished third in voting for collegiate soccer’s highest honor, the Hermann Trophy.

She still ranks among the top five for career starts in UNC’s record book.She was a two-time captain for the Carolina Courage in the first fully professional U.S. women’s league (Women’s United Soccer Association). She helped the Courage win the 2002 title after finishing last in the team’s inaugural campaign one year prior.

Roberts Sahaydak took over VCU’s program in 2007 and led the Rams to three conference championship game appearances. She was voted as the 2011 Colonial Athletic Association Co-Head Coach of the Year, along with her husband Tim. The duo mentored two CAA Defenders of the Year, one CAA Rookie of the Year and 20 all-conference players, including six first-team honorees.The Sahaydaks reside in Orlando with their two daughters, Layla and Evie.

“It’s been a life changing experience being involved in the Sports Diplomacy Envoys. I have had the good fortune of participating in programs all over the globe, and I’ve worked together with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. I am constantly reminded that sport can bring us closer together. We can celebrate our differences and our common interests. Every time we start to play a game we start to connect and the world seems to get a bit smaller.”