Sports Envoy
Sports Envoy Program

Neftalie Williams


Served as envoy

  • 2016  –  Netherlands
  • 2017  –  Cambodia
  • 2021  –  Virtual
  • 2023  –  Barbados
  • 2023  –  Grenada
  • 2024  –  France

Dr. Neftalie Williams is the Director of San Diego State University’s Center for Skateboarding, Action Sports, and Social Change. His work delves into global issues surrounding race, gender, diversity, and youth empowerment, using critical theory to examine power dynamics, identity politics, and social transformation through the lens of action sports. Dr. Williams focuses on the lives of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), as well as their non-BIPOC counterparts, to provide historical examples of challenges and solidarity that can guide us toward a more inclusive future.

With a background in both academia and a deep personal connection to skateboarding, writing, and photography, Dr. Williams has made significant contributions to the study of skateboarding culture. He has published scholarly works, written op-eds for mainstream publications, and provided commentary for various traditional news outlets and documentaries, including The New York Times, CNN, ABC, Forbes, and the documentary ‘Reaching the Sky’ featuring Olympian Sky Brown. His research on race and skateboarding, conducted as part of the 2019-2020 USC x Tony Hawk Foundation project, was prominently featured in The Los Angeles Times and The New York Times.

Dr. Williams’ extensive experience also includes positions at the Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism, as well as serving as a Yale Schwarzman Center Visiting Fellow in Race, Culture & Community. His scholarly expertise is complemented by his personal history as a skateboarder, writer, and photographer, which has led to features in publications like Transworld Skateboarding Magazine and Thrasher Magazine.

One of Dr. Williams’ pioneering concepts is using skateboarding as a tool for cultural diplomacy, both in theory and practice. He has spearheaded skate diplomacy initiatives for the U.S. Department of State’s embassies, engaging with youth globally and connecting them with their host country’s academic, sports, and cultural institutions. His work has taken him to countries such as Cambodia, The Netherlands, Kazakhstan, Barbados, and Grenada, aligning with his scholarly research in Brazil, The Netherlands, South Africa, Sweden, and Cuba.

In an effort to expand public discourse on skateboarding culture, Dr. Williams founded “The Nation Skate,” a series of public panels, lectures, skateboarding demonstrations, and photography and skateboarding media. This initiative explores the intersection of race, gender, diversity, and diplomacy through the mediums of skateboarding, academia, and popular culture. His photography and scholarly endeavors have been showcased at prominent institutions like the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and the Ford Theater in Los Angeles.

Currently, Dr. Williams provides consultation on skateboarding and action sports for Disney Studios and Burton Snowboards. He is also a co-founder of the College Skateboarding Educational Foundation (CSEF), a non-profit organization dedicated to providing scholarships for young skateboarders pursuing higher education. Furthermore, he serves on the boards of the Tony Hawk Foundation/The Skatepark Project, Skateistan, McKinnon Center for Global Affairs, and chairs the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee for USA Skateboarding.

Bradley Emmerson

Sledge Hockey

Served as envoy

  • 2016  –  Slovakia

A member of the National Team since 2003, Brad Emmerson got his chance to compete at his first Paralympic Winter Games in 2006, and was a major contributor for the bronze medal-winning squad. Emmerson tied for second on the team in scoring (two goals, three assists) and in plus/minus rating (+4).

Emmerson is now a veteran on the U.S. Paralympics Sled Hockey National Team, and has held a slot on the national team for five years helping lead the U.S. to a bronze medal at the 2008 IPC Sledge Hockey World Championships in Marlborough, Mass., the 2009 World Championships in Ostrava, Czech Republic and a gold medal in 2010 Japan Para Ice Sledge Hockey Championships. Emmerson was also part of the 2010 gold medal U.S. Paralympis Sled Hockey National Team.

In addition to his years on the national team, Emmerson has spent eight years with the Buffalo Freeze sled hockey club and now has been named the first-ever head coach of the Novice Buffalo Sabres sled hockey team.

Off the ice, Emmerson spends his time speaking to students throughout the northeast about overcoming obstacles to achieve goals with hard work and belief in one’s self. Emmerson also blogs about his experiences with Team USA right here on the U.S. Paralympics Web site.

John Register

Track & Field Paralympics

Served as envoy

  • 2016  –  Uzbekistan
  • 2018  –  Japan
  • 2021  –  Global

Since childhood, sports have been John Register’s passion. A born athlete, he began swimming competitively at a young age, and soon added baseball, football and eventually track and field to his repertoire.

After high school, Register earned a scholarship to the University of Arkansas, where he became a four-time All-American — once in the NCAA long jump, once in the 55m high hurdles and twice on the 4x400m relay teams. Upon earning his BA in Communications in 1988, John enlisted in the U.S. Army, where he proudly served for six years. A Desert Shield and Desert Storm veteran, he continued to pursue athletic excellence while on active duty, participating in the Army’s World Class Athlete Program and winning nine gold medals in the Armed Services Competition, as well as two World Military Championships.

In 1988, John qualified for the Olympic trials in the 110m hurdles, and again in 1992 for the 400m hurdles. With these accomplishments, he seemed destined to compete as a member of the 1996 Olympic Team. On May 17, 1994, however, his life would be forever altered with one misstep over the hurdle.

A faulty landing hyper-extended John’s left knee, resulting in a severed popiliteal artery. An attempt to reconstruct the artery using a vein from his right leg failed; within days, gangrene turned the muscle black, and amputation was suggested. The alternative was a useless left knee and ankle, which would restrict his movements to a wheelchair for mobility.

Though the experience was devastating, John refused to be stopped by the injury. With a strong faith in Christ and the support of his wonderfully supportive wife Alice, he chose amputation, and through the use of a prosthetic leg, he walked again – and eventually ran.

During his long journey to recovery, John began using sports as a conduit to rehabilitation. At the Brooke Army Medical Center, he began swimming for cardiovascular fitness. It was during the first few swim sessions with his personal coach that an inspiration to compete again was born. After only 18 months of rehabilitation and training, John qualified for – and made – the 1996 Paralympic Team, competing in Atlanta, Ga. in the 50m freestyle. He also competed in the finals of the 4x400m-medley relay, swimming the anchor.

While watching closed-circuit television in Athlete Village during his first Paralympics, John observed athletes with one leg running and jumping on the track. Excited by what he saw, an idea was birthed, and after being fitted with a running prosthesis, he set a goal of competing in track and field at the 2000 Paralympic Games, in Sydney, Australia.

Not only did John begin to run, he began to make history! Two years after his first run with an artificial leg, he earned the Silver medal in the long jump at the 2000 Paralympic Games and set the American long jump record in the process with a distance of 5.41 meters (17.8feet). He also sprinted to 5th place in both the 100 and 200m dashes.

John’s life has truly come full circle in his transformation from All-American long jumper to Paralympic Silver medalist. His exceptional story of courage and inspiration led him to found Inspired Communications, where he serves as inspirational speaker, helping his audiences apply life lessons learned through times of testing to focus on what is possible.

“I did not overcome the loss of my limb. To overcome the loss would mean I’d have to grow it back. What I overcame were the limits I placed on myself and that others placed on me. This is what is universal for all of us to overcome.” John Register

His powerful keynote, “Hurdling Adversity”, challenges audiences both young and old to unleash the inspiration in them. John has been a spokesperson for Hartford Insurance Company, the American Plastics Council, the Ohio Willow Wood Company, and Disabled Sports USA. He has been a solutions engine for more than 50 companies, and featured on numerous national television programs, to include: PAX TV’s “It’s A Miracle” with Richard Thomas, FOX’s “The Edge” with Paula Zahn, NBC’s “Weekend Today Show” with Sara James, and MSNBC’s “Morning Blend” with Solidad O’Brian. He has also been profiled several times in The New York Times, The Washington Post, ESPN Magazine and the Washington Kid’s Post.

Subsequent to his 1994 amputation, John remained active with the military- first as a civilian employee of the Army working as a sports specialist with the Army’s World Class Athlete Program, then as a program specialist with the U.S. Army B.O.S.S. (Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers) Program at the Community and Family Support Center (CFSC) Headquarters in Alexandria, VA.

In 2003, he accepted a position with the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), and birthed the USOC Paralympic Military Program, which uses sports to assist in the recovery of wounded, ill or injured service members. The program which serves both active duty and retired military personnel has impacted thousands in creating their new normal.

Register is both volunteer and civic-minded, and frequently engages in peer mentor visits at military and veteran hospitals, serves on numerous boards, and was one of 35 co-chairs who acted as a surrogate for President Obama’s 2012 re-election.

John is married to the former Alice Johnson. The couple has two children (John Jr. , 29, and Ashley, 21). John also is the father of Ron Register, 30. Alice and John reside in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Barry Siff


Served as envoy

  • 2016  –  Benin
  • 2018  –  Panama

Barry Siff had a successful business career primarily in the food industry. He was a Vice President by the time he was 27, and eventually became Sr. Vice President of a multi-billion dollar company at the age of 40. However, after less than three years in that role, at the age of just 42, he and his entire executive team were removed, and Barry reinvented himself into the world of sports.

An avid marathoner and triathlete, having completed over 70 marathons, ultra-marathons, and Ironman competitions, Siff turned to the then exploding world of adventure racing. He helped start “MountainQuest Adventures,” which held 24-hour events and training camps in Colorado. At the same time, Siff became an elite adventure racing athlete, racing all over the world in multi-day expedition races from 1998 to 2003. These 5-10 day events took him to places like Tibet, Argentina, New Zealand, China, Fiji, and a dozen other exotic remote locations.

In 2004, Barry and his wife, Jodee, bought a small triathlon in Boulder, CO, and in five short years grew “5430 Sports” into one of America’s leading triathlon event companies, selling it to World Triathlon Corp. (“Ironman”) in 2009. Looking to give back to the sport he loved so much, Barry got involved with and ultimately was elected to the Board of Directors of USA Triathlon in 2012. In 2014, he was elected President of USA Triathlon, and served five years in this capacity.

Siff was asked to join the International Triathlon Union (ITU) Executive Board, also, in 2014, the governing body of the sport worldwide, and continues in that capacity today. In 2016, Siff was appointed a U.S. Department of State Sports Envoy, and has made sports diplomacy trips in that capacity to Benin (Africa), Panama, and Seoul, Korea.

Barry has served on the Boards of the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine, the Boulder Convention and Visitors Bureau, and has also co-authored two books: “Adventure Racing: The Ultimate Guide” and “Fit and Fun for Life.” He holds a BS in Civil Engineering from WPI, and an MA in Industrial Relations from Wayne State University. He continues to remain very active in triathlon, running, and other endurance events today.

Bill Doyle


Served as envoy

  • 2016  –  Moldova

Apex Director and coach, Bill Doyle, was introduced to volleyball in the early 70’s on the sand at the Naval Amphibious Base in Little Creek Virginia. Over the years he developed both a passion for both playing and teaching the game. Coach Doyle began working with the Rhinebeck High School Volleyball program in the late 80’s and became the Junior Varsity Coach in ‘91 and the Varsity Coach in ‘92.

From there, he and some Rhinebeck athletes joined what was then known as Mid-Hudson Juniors Volleyball. Within a few years Coach Doyle inherited the club and moved its center to Poughkeepsie, NY.
In 1994 Doyle signed on with Vassar College where he helped coach the Men’s team to become the ’95 Division III National Champions. In 1997 Mid-Hudson Juniors rebranded as Apex Volleyball and won their first Regional Championship in the 15u age group, moving on to Denver Colorado to compete in the Girls Junior National Championships. As Apex succeeded over the years, Rhinebeck did as well as a top performer in a crowded Section I, finishing as Class C champions twice. In a twenty-two year career Doyle coached Rhinebeck to nearly three hundred wins, perennial post-season play, seven Sectional Championships, six League Titles, four State Final Four appearances, and two years as State Runner-Up.

During 2001-2002 Coach Doyle also served as the Head Coach For the Bard Raptors Men’s and Women’s Volleyball programs finishing second in conference with both teams. At Apex, Doyle has been the Director since 1993. He has coached four Regional Championship teams as well three runner-up teams. He has coached four teams to place in the Girls Junior National Championships.
Coach Doyle also serves as an Officer of the GEVA Board of Directors.

He is currently in his Third term as the Junior Director and Director of Sport Development. He also serves as the Director of Garden Empire Volleyball High Performance Program. He founded the program fifteen years ago and has nurtured it to the present state of excellence. In the program Coach Doyle has served as the Head Coach for 2015 National Select Bronze Medal High Performance Championship Team and Head Coach for 2017 National Youth Gold Medal High Performance Championship Team.

Jill Ellis


Served as envoy

  • 2016  –  Liberia

Jillian Ellis is an English-American soccer coach. Ellis coached the US National Women’s Soccer Team from 2014 to 2019 and during her time, won two FIFA Women’s World Cups (2015 and 2019), making her the second coach to win consecutive World Cups.

Ellis did not play organized soccer until her family moved to the US in 1981 when she joined her high school’s soccer team in which she led them to win the state championship and won the under-19 national title before going on to play as a forward at William & Mary.

Ellis has a USSF Pro coaching license with coaching experience as a under-20 and under-21 national team coach and as a UCLA Bruins coach. After being appointed to head coach of US Women’s soccer, she was honored 2015 FIFA World Coach of the Year for Women’s Football in 2016.

Mary Harvey


Served as envoy

  • 2013  –  Iraq
  • 2014  –  Jordan
  • 2015  –  Canada
  • 2015  –  Jordan
  • 2015  –  Egypt
  • 2016  –  Jordan

Mary Harvey is an accomplished and innovative sports development and governance executive with 10+ years leading initiatives to achieve societal change through sports. Mary’s initiatives have been launched and implemented around the world through a variety of organizations, having sustained impact in the empowerment of girls and women, inclusion of marginalized groups, stewardship of the environment and achievement of health and educational objectives.

Mary has served as a sport envoy for the US State Department’s SportsUnited on several occasions, including missions to Iraq in 2013 and Jordan in 2014. On both missions, the key objective was engaging key stakeholders via sport outreach to promote the inclusion and value of women and girls and to promote acceptance and integration of diverse ethnic groups.

A lifelong athlete, Mary enjoyed an 8-year career with the US Women’s National Soccer Team, winning the inaugural FIFA Women’s World Cup in 1991 and Olympic Gold in 1996. Mary appeared, with her teammates, in the HBO sports documentary, “Dare to Dream”. Mary holds an MBA from the Anderson School at UCLA and a BS from UC Berkeley.

Lesle Gallimore


Served as envoy

  • 2012  –  Morocco
  • 2016  –  Ethiopia
  • 2022  –  Israel

At Washington
• Started in 1994 at UW, completed her 22nd season with the Huskies – the longest tenure of any coach in the Pac-12
• Appeared in 14 NCAA tournaments, twice having advanced as far as the quarterfinals J(ELITE EIGHT)
• Won a Pac-10 Championship in 2000
• Coached Hope Solo and Tina Ellertson (Frimpong), both with ties to the U.S. WNT, as well as Kate Deines and Veronica Perez, with all four playing in the NWSL (Lindsay Elston and Kate Bennett now also)

Previous/Other Coaching Experience
• Four-time All-American at California (1982-85)
• Led the Golden Bears to the national playoffs three out of her four seasons
• Named the school’s 1976-86 Athlete of the Decade
• Served as an assistant at California from 1986 through 1989
• Helped the Golden Bears reach the NCAA soccer Final Four twice, in 1987 and 1988
• Obtained her United States Soccer Federation “A” License, the highest coaching license available, in 1993
• Member of U.S. Soccer National Coaching Instructor Staff
• Member of U.S. Soccer Youth National Teams Staff
• Vice President of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America and will become President in 2018

Playing Career
• Four-time All-American at Cal from 1982-86
• 3 x Olympic Sports Festival Gold Medalist
• US National B Team
• Reached the Final Four in 1984
• Inducted into the California Hall of Fame in 19954
• Inducted into the California Women’s Soccer Inaugural Lair of Legends in 2015
• Named to the Pac-12 Conference All-Century Team Starting XI in 2015

• Native of Redondo Beach, Calif., currently lives in Seattle
• Has a 22 year-old son, Zachary, that is a Lance coporal in the U.S. Marine Corp, stationed in Okinawa, Japan married to Elhiany and has a 3-month old daughter, Leila June
• Graduate from California in 1986 with a degree in psychology

Lauren Gregg


Served as envoy

  • 2006  –  Nigeria
  • 2008  –  Nigeria
  • 2012  –  Argentina
  • 2016  –  China

A long-time assistant coach of the U.S. Women’s National Team, Lauren Gregg was a member of the coaching staff for the U.S. at the 1991 FIFA Women’s World Cup in China, the 1995 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Sweden and the 1996 Olympic Games in the USA.
During her tenure as assistant coach, from 1989-2000, Gregg also served as U.S. U-21 Women’s National Team head coach, leading the team to Nordic Cup titles in the 1997 and 1999 editions of the tournament and second place in the 1998 Nordic Cup.

Prior to becoming an assistant coach with U.S. Soccer, Gregg led the University of Virginia to the NCAA Final Four in 1991 and seven straight NCAA tournaments, from 1988-94. Gregg was named NSCAA Coach of the Year in 1990 and was the first woman to lead a team to the NCAA Division I Final Four.

Gregg holds a U.S. Soccer “A” coaching license and earned one cap for the U.S. Women’s National Team in 1986.

Ashlyn Harris


Served as envoy

  • 2016  –  Liberia

A two-time Goalkeeper of the Year (2011 in the WPS and 2016 in the NWSL), the Satellite Beach, FL native is a strong veteran presence for the USA—which will be a huge factor as the team navigates the physical and emotional waves that come with seeking a second straight World Cup title.

In addition to winning the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Ashlyn Harris played every minute as the USA won the 2002 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Cup. She was the youngest starter on the team at 16 years old, but one of the brightest stars. It was her saves that allowed the U.S. to prevail in overtime 1-0 over Canada to win the inaugural title. Harris was back with the U-19s two years later, playing every minute again as the U.S. finished third at the 2004 tournament in Thailand.

Harris took that international success with her to the college ranks where she won three NCAA Championships with the University of North Carolina in 2006, 2008 and 2009.