Meet the Candidates for the 2019 Board of Directors

Posted: October 2, 2018 12:28 PM

One At-Large Seat, One Elite Athlete Up for Election this Fall

Colorado Springs, Colo. (Oct. 2, 2018) – Following a public, membership-wide search for applicants, USA Ultimate announced today the final slate of approved candidates running for a seat on the 2019-21 board of directors.

Later this fall, USA Ultimate members will vote to fill two positions – one at-large seat and one elite athlete seat.

Candidates running for the at-large seat include Jimmy Donnellon, Matt Goff, Ethan Latinsky, Frank Nam and Timothy Rockwood.

All current USA Ultimate members in good standing are eligible to vote for the at-large seat.

The elite athlete election will be contested by three candidates: Kurt Gibson, Dave Klink and Charlie Mercer.

Only elite athletes, as defined by USA Ultimate’s Bylaws, Section 5.6(b), are eligible to vote in the elite athlete election. 

As part of their election campaigns, each candidate was asked to supply USA Ultimate with a public statement, which can be read below.

All USA Ultimate members are encouraged to read the candidates’ statements below and vote in the election this fall.


At-Large Candidates


Elite Athlete Candidates




AtLargeCandidates 2019BoDElection


Jimmy Donnellon


I Live Ultimate that’s for sure. The sport has been central in my life since I first played over 20 years ago. I am running for the USA Ultimate Board of Directors because I want to serve the players’ needs and foster the integrity of ultimate. As a board member, I will be proactive in understanding the ideas and views of all who love this sport.  

We are at a pivotal moment. Our players, organizers, and leaders have heightened visibility and accountability moving forward. We need to be vigilant to become a beacon in equity, diversity, community, and respect. We must look to improve player development to continue our growth and the national teams’ successes into the future. 

We have many opportunities and challenges in front of us. I will not claim to have all the answers to the complexities of our sport. I am open to all conversations and input. I want to represent all voices within our community. 

As the president of Colorado Springs Ultimate Network for ten years I faced many of the same issues that the community at large has been addressing. I worked with our board to find solutions to improve equity, diversity, inclusion, SOTG, competition, and growth. Over the years, our community grew as we developed new leagues (youth and adult), sponsorships, initiatives, clinics (youth, women’s, and beginners’), teams, and tournaments (sanctioned and non-sanctioned).

With 20 years of playing ultimate at various levels, I have grown to understand the joys and pains of being an ultimate player. My experience spans mostly in the mixed division (beach and grass, captained for one year), leagues, pick-up (including internationally), four years in the open division (college and club), and I just played my first year in the master's division. I am also currently coaching the Air Force Academy’s Development Team in its first year. I look forward to incorporating my ultimate experience to serve you and advance competition. 

In addition to my ultimate career and contributions, I have developed the keen ability to see the larger picture. With my background in marketing, I have learned the importance of a positive user experience in how we design all aspects and interactions online and in-person. Moreover, I have seen and continuously study the growth of technology and how it impacts our lives in how we work and play. I have also been able to blend work with my dedication to ultimate by joining Morrill Performance in bringing a long-term athlete development model to more ultimate players. 

I am excited for this opportunity to serve you. My experience as an organizer, player, coach, volunteer, and professional provides me with a unique perspective that will help guide USA Ultimate to its bright future.


Matt Goff


I, Matthew "MattGoff" Goff, am running for election to the At-Large seat of the 2019-2021 USA Ultimate Board of Directors to provide strategic, sustainable growth guidance on behalf of the community as to further the advancement of ultimate and the positive changes it enacts.

For over 13 years, I have felt more and more connected to the broader positive impact on the world that happens through advancing the sport of ultimate. Through growing from a casual youth player to competing across the nation to captaining league and club teams in multiple cities, my early ultimate years were built on understanding and sharing the balance of character, community, and competition that shine in the spirit of ultimate. The strong sense of community developed through healthy competition of high-character individuals is a cultural experience I wish for more to share, enjoy, and celebrate and one that fuels my continued service to advancing ultimate.

While serving on Richmond Ultimate’s Board of Directors since 2011, I have focused on diversifying the leadership, community, and ultimate opportunities as to develop sustainable growth strategies. As Secretary, I structured and developed the foundation of Richmond Ultimate to determine priorities, risks, and strategy. As Vice President, Power of Good 2015 honored me for leadership empowering innovation that has led to more opportunities for our youth and adults, women and men, recreational and competitive players. As President, I led strategic policy changes to scale sustainable growth, operation, and community. Now my focus with Richmond Ultimate is strategically engaging to support the current leaders, volunteers, and community, with a particular focus on youth outreach.

As a product management professional, I actively listen for customer needs, create data-driven strategies to offer solutions, and lead the execution of the nationally impactful initiatives. With accountability to today’s diverse market, I’ve honed my ability to transparently prioritize work, align stakeholders to the strategic vision, and deliver the value to customers. I’d be honored to apply these professional skills to the national and international advancement of ultimate via USA Ultimate’s Board of Directors.

I feel my organic growth experiences in mid-sized cities with growing ultimate scenes combined with my nationally impactful professional experiences will contribute unique perspective to ultimate’s continued growth via USA Ultimate’s leadership. 

I am honored to be a finalist for the At-Large seat and look forward to continuing to serve the sport and community to affect a sustainable, equitable growth mindset. Thank you for your engagement and consideration.


Ethan Latinsky


Ultimate is full of wonderful people. In 2010, before ever seeing the sport, I was fortunate enough to meet and witness the camaraderie shown between the old school Scallywags of South Florida on a random Friday night in Gainesville before sectionals. At that point in time, I knew two things about ultimate: a backhand throw and if college teammates could be this close, I had to try out the sport.  

In 2011, I transferred to USF to continue towards my master’s degree with the goal of becoming a CPA. Thankfully, I lived with an ultimate player at the time who encouraged me during my first year to keep coming out. Even though I was in school, working, and studying for the CPA exam, my toughest challenge was learning to throw a flick. 

Year one ended, but my flick never showed up. Thankfully, with a few helpful alumni the following year, I quickly figured it out! After a long struggle, I reached success with the support and help of the entire community around me. I came to truly love this sport as much or more than any I’ve ever played.

Since then, I've always followed ultimate and how it's grown. Even considering my relatively late start into ultimate and the community, there have been two things that have always stood out to me as the most important hurdles for the sustained success of the sport.

The first thing that we would need to make this mission successful would be to increase our level of care for the heart and soul of ultimate: The ultimate community! 

There is a stable and dedicated ultimate community that exists across the U.S., and the sport continues to grow organically! Let’s nurture what we already have and engrain it more into communities and schools. We can give ultimate wider visibility and let people see that, even though it’s fun to play, it’s more than just a sport!

My second area of focus would be the financing for USAU’s endeavors. It is a significant part of any business and the major reason I have thrown my name into the hat. I can use my finance and accounting background to benefit your ultimate community whether you’re located mountain side, towards Kansas or switch positions. 

I would be honored to receive your vote and provide the bookends support of continuing the great traditions of spirit, passion, and fun while providing unique knowledge to assist in strengthening the financial foundation of ultimate. Currently working five minutes away from USAU headquarters, I believe I can immediately help the sport of ultimate continue to grow and cultivate positive change until the very last stall 9 hammer. 


Ethan Latinsky


Frank Nam


I started playing ultimate in the late 80s at a N.Y.C. church camp where many of my older friends played ultimate at their local high schools (Stuyvesant, Bronx Science, Brooklyn Tech). I started a team at Livingston HS my junior year and played for Rutgers Machine for three more. Ultimate was my first attempt at leadership as I founded, captained, and coached the first-ever team at my high school, and it left an indelible mark on me. 

I believe I have the qualifications necessary due to my experiences coaching youth and adults, organizing official USAU tournaments, working in non-profits, serving on non-profit boards, and working in local government.

I am running on a platform of helping USA Ultimate's discussion on equity with a framework that leads with race. To be specific, this would be an intersectional framework. I would use my experience with the City of Seattle's Race and Social Justice toolkit to review USA Ultimate's policies. You can read more about this initiative here

For many years, I've watched the young people I coached and worked with in South Seattle struggle when it came to macro and micro-aggressions in the form of name-calling, questionable spirit-calls/cheers, and parent comments (amongst other things). I would like to use this experience to help address what is becoming a more common experience in our community and to build bridges that connect rather than divide.

Here are my qualifications:

Ultimate-related experiences: 11+ years of coaching experience at the HS, MS, and club levels. Former Skyd Magazine Youth Coach of the Year and multiple WA State Open CoTY awards during my seven years coaching the Franklin High School Boys team. Coached Seattle Underground for the past five years and worked as DiscNW's second-ever Youth Coordinator for three years. For 10 years, I was either the General Manager or U-19 mixed coach for DiscNW's YCC program and am one of the co-founders of Southend Ultimate Program (which runs the well-known All Girl Everything Ultimate Program). I was also a founding board member and officer for SUP. 

Non-profit experiences: I have served on three different boards/committees with local non-profits (Seattle Works, 826 Seattle, Leadership Tomorrow) and have worked directly for non-profits for 10 years. 

Government experience: I have local government experience as a Supervisor with the City of Seattle's Department of Neighborhoods. My role was working with a team of community engagement coordinators. During that time, I interfaced with multiple government departments, non-profits, business organizations, local community groups, and elected officials. I sat on the Special Events Committee which heard from and gave feedback to hundreds of organizations that wanted to utilize city parks/streets for fairs, events, marches, and run/walks. I am well-versed in multi-prong community engagement with a race/equity lens.

Currently, I work at The Seattle Foundation where I am working on a two-year grant to study the impact of "Othering and Belonging" on the Puget Sound region. Professor John Powell at UC Berkeley believes that most people come together (or "bond") through shared interests. That is true of ultimate. We all love this sport, and it draws us together. However, when bonding communities become too insular, they tend to "break" – meaning that we start differentiating ourselves from those unlike us, or we make assumptions about everyone in the group. I see this today as ultimate has worked hard on gender equity but seems to miss the boat on racial equity. In order for organizations, teams, players, to move forward, we need what Dr. Powell calls "bridging" relationships. To be a bridge is difficult as bridges get walked on. It relies on dialogue, honesty, open-mindedness, and most of all, vulnerability. 

I would appreciate the opportunity to serve on USA Ultimate's Board of Directors in order to help build the bridges so necessary not only in our sport but in our communities.

Thank you.


Timothy Rockwood


In order to promote and preserve—in tandem—the core attributes of ultimate, I have dedicated thousands of hours helping to move our sport towards the level of Olympic inclusion and sponsor underwriting. Your votes for me will help move the disc upfield effectively.

As an elite player in the late 70s and 80s, I was an early member of the Ultimate Players Association, having been a founding member of the Middlebury Pranksters in Vermont and EARTH Ultimate in New York City. In 1982, after Regionals, where EARTH Ultimate defeated the legendary Rude Boys 16-14, I was chosen from 750 applicants to be one of two Olympic Researchers at ABC Sports for the 1984 Olympics in Sarajevo and Los Angeles, which, to my chagrin, promptly ended my ultimate playing career due to the travel demands of the job. Nonetheless, I kept my hands in the game and on the disc and, in 1985, I was able to get the USA Ultimate Nationals from Washington, D.C., on TBS Sports network television. Two years later, I convinced my not-so-sanguine sports programming bosses to fund multi-camera production of Nationals from Miami, highlights of which aired in primetime nationally on TBS. Fast-forward three decades and, after being asked by my old friend Nob Rauch to assist WFDF in its broadcasting efforts, I have overseen marketing, production, and digital distribution of WUGC in London, WCBU in France, and WUCC in Cincinnati.

My underlying motivations are twofold: (1) to effect and execute strategies that will enhance development of our sport by introducing it through video media to a much broader audience, especially among youth and non-endemic viewers of sports; and (2) to eventually help pay for ultimate athletes to compete at local and elite levels without digging into their wallets by attracting new eyeballs and sponsors—which will, in turn, attract more diverse athletes in the U.S. and globally. My part-time, volunteer position with WFDF is the opposite of a conflict of interest: It’s complementary. My unique sports media expertise and connections can help USA Ultimate—along with WFDF, the best stewards of our sport—accelerate quality of event coverage, growth of distribution channels, and partnerships with new, non-endemic sponsors.

Gender equity is an oft-cited phrase these days, and rightfully so. My track record speaks for itself: At this year’s WUCC, WFDF hired a 40-person production team, including 15 on-air commentators, that was majority female: a first. Throughout my career in television and film, I have hired, mentored, and promoted dozens of women and persons of color. In addition, I have extensive experience collaborating to create women’s health content in film and television. I believe that USAU and WFDF have unique opportunities to push for gender parity, and I hope to help promote this initiative.

Critically, in a sport with a diverse—and sometimes divisive—stakeholder base, I wish to unite the common interests of all ultimate players in order to advance our sport, highlight our athletes, and attract new viewers, sponsors, and distribution networks.

My non-disc life includes independent documentary filmmaking on social justice, environmental, and women’s health issues plus volunteering for the past 15 years as a Certified Special Olympics Coach in soccer, basketball, and softball.



Elite Athlete

EliteAthleteCandidates 2019BoDElection


Kurt Gibson


Since the first time I was invited to play in a local ultimate summer league, I was hooked on the sport. I dropped all other sports in favor of ultimate and have never looked back. I am wholeheartedly invested in the success of this sport and have dedicated much of my life to it. I want to continue to carry on that spirit and energy in leaving the sport better for the next generation. I believe USA Ultimate plays the most critical role leading the direction of the sport and would be honored to continue to contribute to our sport’s development as a member of the USA Ultimate Board. 

Over the last 15 years, I have been lucky enough to travel all over the world participating in tournaments and teaching clinics. In that time, I have achieved success on the field with a College National Championship, three Club Championships, and two World Championships, and I have dedicated countless hours day and night to pushing my body and mind to the limits to be the best I can be to support my team.  

Equally as rewarding as having success between the lines, I have also been able to see the value of sharing and teaching the sport as a role model to youth and other ultimate players across the globe. Understanding the importance of sharing ultimate’s core values in the right way to foster that ripple effect globally is critical to growing our sport in a way that is aligned to the vision and mission of USA Ultimate. 

The sport has grown tremendously since I began playing in 2003. I have seen great progress within youth programs and partnerships, and this is something I believe should be strengthened. Continuing the development and investment at that youth level for young girls and boys is something I believe to be extremely important to the future of the growth of the sport. We play a unique sport with strong, foundational values that are worthy of spreading as we strive to introduce others to it.  

When not playing ultimate, I am a sales executive for a publicly traded company. I have also volunteered my time visiting cancer patients at MD Anderson in Houston, Texas. I also speak to youth cancer patients regarding the trials and tribulations of my cancer journey, encouraging them on their own journey and maintaining a positive mental attitude as they go through treatment. 

Ultimate has been a formative part of my life and I would like to continue to contribute to its future on our board. I respectfully request your vote!


Dave Klink


I am running for reelection to the USA Ultimate Board of Directors for the opportunity to continue to contribute to the stewardship of our sport and spirit of the game and to develop and implement policies in my areas of focus, including competition, equity, the rules, and judicial matters.

Athlete Background. I’ve played college, club, league, and masters over the past 20 years, including 15 seasons of mixed club. For the first half of my career, my teams’ seasons ended mostly at sectionals or regionals. In more recent years, though, I was honored to be part of Drag’n Thrust for three national championships (2013-2015) and a world championship (2014) and then to add two more national titles to my ultimate résumé in men’s masters (Surly 2016) and mixed masters (Hey Babe 2018).   

Coach and Organizer Background. I coached at the youth (women’s, mixed, and open) and club (women’s) levels, including recently coaching Minneapolis Pop (2017). I served as the competition director of the largest high school state tournament in the country for the past seven years, and I’m the vice chair of the Minnesota Ultimate Board of Directors. I volunteered for eight seasons as a USAU club coordinator in the mixed division. As national mixed director, I communicated extensively with the mixed captains across all flights in the first three years of the TCT. 

Muggle life. I’m a husband, father, and business attorney. I advise nonprofit and for-profit corporations on a variety of matters, including corporate governance and litigation.

Values/philosophy. I’m proud that equity and spirit of the game are core values for USAU. I’m an advocate for mixed as well. I additionally believe that equity, SOTG, and mixed are our best marketing centerpieces: The sports world needs alternatives which emphasize these values! USAU must continue to focus on serving women and girls and do more to ensure that the demographics of ultimate reflect those of our country. USAU must strengthen relationships with local and regional organizations so that we are better positioned to grow and to provide more local, meaningful, and affordable opportunities for players and fans. USAU must also continue to focus on communication: I envision a day, soon, when we will all be able to find things on the USAU website without Google, where more than 30 people understand our committee structures, and where more than 1 percent of the members vote in these elections.

Areas of Focus. I’m an active contributor beyond standard board and committee duties. Here are examples of USAU policies with which I have been heavily involved over the past three years, in collaboration with others: 

  • Competition. Reversing the prior TCT strategy of shifting the club season to hold Nationals in the summer; moving the U.S. Open off July 4 weekend and combining with YCC in August.

  • Equity. Modifying the transgender policy to allow more flexibility for youth athletes (in 2015); in the past year. working to develop a comprehensive Transgender Inclusion Policy (pending board approval); supporting push for divisional equity in TCT coverage and scheduling.

  • Rules. Developing a new Rules Policy for the philosophy and process by which the USAU rules will be maintained and revised and helping to kick start the group drafting the next edition.

  • Judicial. Helping to navigate new changes in the legal landscape for sports, including publishing a list of banned players and coaches and revisiting conduct standards.

If you have any questions, concerns, or would like to discuss issues which are important to you, then please contact me at  Thank you for your consideration of my candidacy!


Charlie Mercer


I am an upper-middle class cis-gendered white woman running for the Elite-Athlete position on the USAU Board of Directors. I have played, coached, organized, and traveled for ultimate for over 14 years. I’m committed to the growth of our incredible sport – and we have work to do. We talk about being an inclusive place where everyone feels at home, and we’re not there yet. That’s why I’m running for the USAU Board.

I’ve represented the U.S. twice at world events and the Philippines three times. My experience playing, living, and training internationally has provided me with a unique perspective. Ultimate as a sport is exploding across the globe, and the U.S. has been leading the way. With this role, there comes a responsibility to lead thoughtfully, and that means learning from what other communities and countries are doing. We lead best when we listen first. 

With years in the field of education, I’ve committed my life to learning, growing, and communicating. I currently run a leadership development program for high school girls of color in Seattle. I’m inspired daily by the youth, their passion, and fire. We need to privilege the voices of groups that aren’t being heard, including our youth, because they are our future. Voices have been silenced within the ultimate community at large for too long. The community was loud and clear about topics of equity during the USAU Town Hall Tour, and now is the time to act.

Our sport isn’t broken. Our sport is incredible. And we haven’t reached our potential yet. I believe that change happens when pressure is applied to organizations from both outside and within. I’ve been working within USA Ultimate for many years, as a Club/College Regional Director, as a representative on the Club Working Group, to push equity, inclusion, and transparency. I hope to continue this work on the board, with your support.


Have any questions or comments? We welcome community feedback and discussion made in a respectful manner. Please refrain from profanity or personal attacks, as such public comments negatively reflect on our sport and community.