Sports Envoy
Sports Envoy Program

Ken Griffey, Jr.

Baseball

Served as envoy

  • 2011  –  Philippines
  • 2014  –  Mexico
  • 2014  –  Cuba

Ken Griffey Jr. was born Nov. 21, 1969. He is married to Melissa Griffey. They have three children: George Kenneth III (“Trey”), daughter Taryn Kennedy, and adopted son Tevin Kendall.

Ken Griffey Jr. is one of the greatest baseball players in history. “Junior,” as he is often called, won 10 straight Gold Glove awards, was named to the All Star team 13 times, was named the American League’s Most Valuable Player in 1997, and hit at total of 630 home runs, placing him fifth on the all-time list. He is the first son to play on the same team as his father, current Cincinnati Reds coach Ken Griffey Sr. During his career, Ken Griffey Jr. played for the Seattle Mariners and Cincinnati Reds, plus a short time for the Chicago White Sox.

In November 2008, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice named Griffey a public diplomacy envoy. Due to his obligations to Major League Baseball, he was unable to make his first trip until February 2011, when he led a highly successful visit to Manila and Cebu in the Philippines. Ken Griffey Sr. has worked with our sports visitor programs on several occasions, most recently this March with our Honduran baseball coaches program.

Eric Hodgson

Volleyball

Served as envoy

  • 2015  –  Philippines

Eric Hodgson is the Director of Outreach for the Arizona Region of USA Volleyball. He wears many hats as he is also the Coaching Education Director and PR-Marketing Director for the Region. Eric started the Arizona Region’s High Performance Program from its inception until 2012.
Eric also works with Gold Medal Squared doing camps and clinics during the summers. His passion for leading camps and clinics has taken him to several countries including Canada, Sweden, Germany, and the Netherlands. Eric has recently been a US Embassy Sports Envoy to the Philippine Islands.

His job as Outreach Director takes him to places where there is no volleyball, including inner city schools and Native American Reservations. Eric also works with PE teachers, clubs and parents to help educate and develop programs to grow the sport.

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.”