AUDL Inclusion Initiative Members

 

Name (Aii Co-Chair): Matt Smith
Team Affiliation: Atlanta Hustle
Role: Player - Rhode Island Rampage (2012), Atlanta Hustle (2015-2020)
Reason for joining the Aii: I grew up with a lot of different cultural influences from my time in Central/South America, Hawaii, and the US Mainland (both north and south of the Mason-Dixie!). I believe we all benefit when different groups are communicating and learning from each other. I want the AUDL and its fanbase to look more like the America I see around me.


Name (Aii Co-Chair): Christina Lee Chung, MD, FAAD
Team Affiliation: Philadelphia Phoenix
Role: Majority Owner and Managing Partner (2019-present)
Reason for joining the Aii: I was born in Philadelphia and raised in the 1980s by South Korean immigrants. This stoked a personal fire from having to navigate the challenges of growing up a person of color in the U.S. and being female within both the American and Korean cultures. In college, I majored in Spanish with a focus on Latin/South American studies and studied abroad with the goal of serving communities of color. My career in academic medicine and clinical research has focused on cultural competence and equity in medicine, specifically the discovery of skin cancer risk factors and skin disease unique to patients of color. I have learned the value of opportunity, mentorship, and leadership but also the importance of having the resources to take advantage of these things. My husband introduced me to ultimate in adulthood and I was captivated by the game and its community. I was equally struck by its lack of racial and socioeconomic diversity. A desire to address this disparity at the local level was one of my primary reasons for acquiring the Phoenix. Similarly, my goal is to challenge the AUDL through the Aii to become a leader in this field and strive to make the spectrum of opportunity that ultimate affords - health, community, participation in and engagement with sports at all levels - accessible to and inclusive of all.


Name: Steve Hall
Team Affiliation: Atlanta Hustle
Role: League Commissioner (2018-Present), minority owner of Atlanta Hustle (2017-Present)
Reason for joining the Aii: I founded the AII because I believe our sports entertainment business will be stronger and achieve better results if it’s representative of the entire community. In order to achieve that greater representation, we must be proactive and reach out to new parts of the community. In addition, we must educate our players, coaches, officials and owners on the implicit biases we have as human beings that often block our willingness to be inclusive. I believe we must have a diverse set of people from our business to lead the AII and to ensure our mission and messages are on point.


Name: Kamron Daftari
Team Affiliation: Raleigh Flyers
Role: Player - Austin Sol (2017-2018), Raleigh Flyers (2019-2020)
Reason for joining the Aii: Strong desire to help grow the sport of ultimate and increase the communities that participate in it. Frisbee is a fantastic sport and I want everyone who desires to participate to have that opportunity to. Having “improving the diversity within AUDL” as a goal will require improvements from all levels of ultimate, youth to professional, and I believe within the pursuit of that goal we will be able to touch many areas of our sport that if improved upon will greatly benefit the entire ultimate community. 


Name: Michael 'The Sultan' Kiyoi
Team Affiliation: Los Angeles Aviators
Role: Player - San Jose Spiders Championship Team! (2014), Los Angeles Aviators (2015-2020)
Reason for joining the Aii: I have a strong passion for education and joined to educate myself and others. I also believe we have so many great players/people in the league and Ultimate as a community. These people should be seen, heard and appreciated in order to highlight our diversity and unity. This hopefully will lead to more youth and adults of color joining/loving the game. Lastly, as Japanese American whose family was in the internment camps I am motivated to be involved in a group that values inclusion and action.


Name: Steven Naji
Team Affiliation: Austin Sol, former player with Indianapolis
Role: Coach (2019 - Present), Player (2014-2019) 
Reason for joining the Aii:  For the last 15 years, ultimate has given me access to so many positive resources and opportunities, and I intend to find ways to share those opportunities with as many people as I can, especially in areas known for less opportunity. In these crazy times, I think our sport has incredible potential to help awareness and bring to light many areas that our society needs to improve. As a coach in the AUDL, I want to use my platform and resources to reach communities who have not had representation at the professional level. Sports, and ultimate in general, unite communities and bring to light so many positive conceptions. I'm honored to join a group of hard working colleagues who share the vision for making our sport more inclusive.

My hopes and intentions are to continue growing the sport of ultimate, and to specifically bring in more people of color to relevant positions in our sport.


Name: James Pollard
Team Affiliation: Philadelphia Phoenix
Role: Player (2018-present)
Reason for joining the Aii: I joined because I want to be a part of helping diversify the league and ultimate in general. I've been playing tennis competitively since middle school and later on went to get a scholarship to play D2 tennis at Philadelphia University. I also played on the golf team my junior and senior year of high school. I've gotten too used to being the only player that looks like me on my teams. I'm a pretty quiet guy that likes to lead by example. Joining the Aii is my way of having my voice heard so there can be more players that look like me playing at a high level.


Name: Ken Porter
Team Affiliation: N/A
Role: Retired Player. Detroit Mechanix (2013), Charlotte Express (2015-2016)
Reason for joining the Aii: I joined the Aii to help make a difference in the ultimate community, to help make everyone (regardless of sexual orientation, race, ability, role, or financial standing) feel more welcome and included in what the AUDL is doing, and selfishly to have another avenue to be invested in a sport that I've grown to love and appreciate for the many fond memories and bonds that it has allowed me to possess.


Name: Ryan Purcell
Team Affiliation: Austin Sol
Role: Player (2016-2020)
Reason for joining the Aii: To learn, support, engage in the conversation. As a sport and as a society we have much work to do, and I think Ultimate and the AUDL can be a part of the solution. And that same line of thought applies to me as an individual - I have much work to do, and I can be a part of the solution.


Name: Peter Thomas Ph.D., M.P.H.
Team Affiliation: Atlanta Hustle
Role: Ownership Group (2018-Present)
Reason for joining the Aii: I am a longtime member of the global ultimate community and have competed on men’s and co-ed championship teams at the community, college, and elite club levels. I’ve also competed at the Grand Master level both nationally and internationally.

As a public health epidemiologist and scientist, much of my professional career has concentrated on measuring and addressing racial inequities that drive or accelerate health disparities among people of color.  In my private life, I’ve led and continue to serve on civic and social groups that mentor and support people from groups who are discriminated against or are disadvantaged. As an African American from Atlanta, I am particularly conscious of the need to support and invest in the lives and needs of young black males in ways that help address their life challenges and empower them to realize their potential.  

As a member of Aii and as a part of the ownership group of the Atlanta Hustle, I am passionate about the value and the opportunity the Aii has to advocate for issues that are important to minority groups in the US and to help bring about greater diversity and racial inclusion at all levels of ultimate, particularly the youth and college age young adults.


Name: Dave Woods
Team Affiliation: Chicago Union
Role: Player (2016–2019), Coach (2019 - Present)
Reason for joining the Aii: I believe that teams and organizations realize their potential only when the talents of a diverse group of people unite towards a common goal free of bias. As a league, we will not reach our full potential, nor be as recognized as other mainstream sports, without diversity and equal representation. I am honored to serve with this group of unique and talented individuals uniting towards the progress of our sport.


Name: Will Frolich
Team Affiliation: Chicago Union
Role: Player, Atlanta Hustle (2019), Chicago Union (2021)
Reason for joining the Aii: I joined the Aii because of the mission and vision of the initiative. Throughout my time as a player, I’ve reaped the benefits that ultimate can provide. As a white man, I’ve been able to access and assimilate with relative ease. Unfortunately, the circle does not extend as far as it could or should. I know teammates of mine have not had the same experience, opportunities, or ease of access. I’d like to try and change that for future generations of players. I look forward to giving back to ultimate, helping to extend the community and grow a sport I am passionate about and thankful for.


Name: Amanda Cruz Myhrberg
Team Affiliation: Tampa Bay Cannons
Role: Mental Performance Coach (2018-Present), Minority Owner (2021-Present)
Reason for joining the Aii: As a mental performance coach, one of my guiding values is that if you have a body, you are an athlete. The term athlete is not reserved for a select few people. Often times we do not see the diversity of different communities in sport. Joining the Aii meant that I would be able to help spotlight the different communities in the sport of ultimate that are sometimes overlooked. Personally, growing up in a South Texas community where 97% of the population is Hispanic, I did not truly understand that as a Hispanic, we were the minority until I ventured out after college. I was fortunate enough to see examples of amazing strong individuals succeeding in different areas in our community. Those are the types of stories I would like to amplify. If you can see it, you can be it.


Name: Cameron Brock
Team Affiliation: Indianapolis Alleycats
Role: Player (2012-2022)
Reason for joining the Aii: I joined the AII because representation is as key to giving opportunities as the availability of the opportunity itself. Any opportunity that appears out of reach, whether it actually is out of reach or appears so by lack of representation, is an opportunity wasted. I've seen first hand as an educator how impactful ultimate can be for kids regardless of any attributes that might be used to describe them. Ultimate is a place where anyone and everyone should be able to find a place to belong, if they so choose. I want to do my part to make this a reality for those that may see it only as a dream, or those that don't see it at all. I'm excited to join a group of people dedicated to growing ultimate for all peoples in all areas and hope the AII can be a place of inspiration for those wanting to do the same.


Former Members

  • Mike Arcata: 2019 - 2021
  • Tristan Green: 2019 - 2021
  • Gabe Hernandez: 2019 - 2021
  • Monica Johnson: 2019 - 2021
  • Remi Ojo: 2019 - 2021
  • Jason Vallee: 2021
  • Carson Wilder: 2019 - 2021