Sports Envoy
Sports Envoy Program

Melissa Ausilio

Boxing

Served as envoy

  • 2022  –  Tajikistan

Melissa Ausilio is co-founder of Revolheart, women’s boxing advocate, community mental health leader and former athlete representative for USA Boxing Women’s Commission. Melissa’s organization Revolheart worked to develop a boxing glove designed specifically for female athletes, understanding not having properly fitting gear can be a barrier for girls and women to participate in sport.

Melissa has served her community through direct service and leadership in nonprofit, business, and government sectors. She currently serves as Executive Director for the National Alliance on Mental Illness in Solano County, California. Her passion for community and athlete wellbeing is fueled by her lived experience and work within marginalized communities.

Christy Halbert

Boxing

Served as envoy

  • 2021  –  Timor Leste
  • 2022  –  Tajikistan

Coach Christy Halbert is a sociologist, coach, advocate, educator, and internationally recognized expert on boxing. She believes that sport can bring people together for positive social change, enhance lives, and build communities.

 

Halbert values a multi-disciplinary approach to improve human performance, the social experience of sport participation, and overall wellness.  She coaches athletes and coaches in the U.S. and abroad, in programs ranging from development to high performance through collegiate, Olympic, and professional pathways.

 

Her work spans research-based athletic development and injury prevention, mental health and preparedness, athlete advocacy, strategic initiatives, engagement through the lifecourse, administration, and educational design.  Halbert has worked for national and international sport federations, universities, and nonprofit agencies.

 

She is a public speaker and academic lecturer, and author of educational materials and academic publications, as well as her instructional book The Ultimate Boxer: Understanding the Sport and Skills of Boxing.

 

In 2011, Halbert was a recipient of the United States Olympic Committee’s Torch Award for her humanitarian efforts to bring women’s boxing into the Olympic Games and to advance women athletes.  She was inducted into the inaugural class of the Women’s Boxing Hall of Fame, and finished her professional boxing career with an undefeated record.  She was an assistant coach and technical advisor for the gold-medal and bronze-medal winning U.S. Boxing team at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London.

 

Halbert was a Division I college athlete in volleyball and track.  She holds a Bachelor’s degree from Western Kentucky University, and a Masters and Ph.D. from the University of Kentucky.

 

Christy Halbert is curious, committed, and passionate about helping people reach their full human potential within the collaborative space of larger society and community.

Cat Whitehill

Soccer

Served as envoy

  • 2018  –  Tajikistan

Catherine Anne Reddick, is a retired American professional soccer defender, now assistant coach of the Boston Breakers in the NWSL. Whitehill last played for the Boston Breakers in 2015 and previously played for the Washington Freedom and the Atlanta Beat in the WPS as well as the United States women’s national soccer team from 2000 to 2010.

Zola Solamente

Soccer

Served as envoy

  • 2014  –  Bolivia
  • 2016  –  Jordan
  • 2016  –  Netherlands
  • 2016  –  Senegal
  • 2017  –  Belarus
  • 2017  –  Albania
  • 2018  –  Tajikistan
  • 2019  –  Bahrain
  • 2023  –  Eswatini

Zola Solamente began playing soccer at the age of 5, with her older brother and his friends. She continued to play with boys until middle school, when she switched to a female club/travel team. From ages 12 – 17, Zola was a captain of her club team, as well as with the Olympic Development Program, and was a member of the East Regional team, which competed internationally.

Zola played at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill 1990-1993. She was a starter at UNC for all four years of her career. She won 4 National Championships, 4 ACC Championships, and was named All-American her senior year. She was invited to play on the US Women’s National team in 1993. She traveled with the team for 2.5 years participating in international tournaments.

In 1995 Zola retired from international soccer to become a mother and pursue a career in fine arts. She now owns Arden Gallery Ltd. in Boston, MA, which she has been directing for 23 years. She continues to share her passion for soccer by providing individual and small-group soccer clinics to female players ages 12 – 18 in the greater Boston area. The focus of these training sessions is to improve technical skills, increase tactical awareness, and deepen strength/fitness levels. She also is a member of a USTA tennis league and rows competitively as single sculler. Since the fall of 2014 she has been traveling with the US State Department as a Sports Envoy coaching and mentoring children in under-served and at-risk environments in the Middle East, Africa, and South America. Zola is passionate about empowering girls and women through sports, especially the beautiful game of soccer.