USADSF Announces New Board Members; Julia Velasquez and Christopher D. Johnson join USADSF

Velasquez and Johnson
Christopher D. Johnson and Julia Velasquez join the USADSF Board of Directors
USADSF Board of Directors
USADSF Board of Directors

USA Deaf Sports Federation (USADSF) is proud to welcome Julia Velasquez and Christopher D. Johnson to the USADSF Board of Directors.

Julia Velasquez joins the USADSF with a wealth of experience in program development and the international deaf sports movement. Julia grew up swimming competitively and playing water polo. Julia played NCAA Division I collegiate water polo and had the opportunity to coach the USA Deaf Men’s Water Polo team in the 2009 Summer Deaflympics in Taipei. Julia was also a member of the 2007 and 2015 Winter Deaflympics media team.

Christopher D. Johnson comes to the USADSF with a background in education advocacy and leadership mentoring as the CEO and founder of Creative Minds, LLC, a consulting agency focused on supporting leaders to recognize gaps and barriers in the Black and Brown deaf community, improving workplace accessibility, and helping schools to foster social belonging and inclusion. Johnson attended the University of West Georgia, where he studied sports management, before pursuing a Master’s in Sign Language Education at Gallaudet University.

USADSF President Jeffrey Mansfield remarked, “Christopher and Julia bring exceptional drive, wisdom, and passion, and I believe that their leadership will make a significant contribution to the betterment of the Deaf sports movement in the United States. On behalf of the Board of Directors, please join us in welcoming Christopher and Julia to our team.”

In addition to Velasquez and Johnson, the current members of the USADSF Board of Directors include:

Elizabeth Matthews, the Winter NSO Chair, was elected to the Board in winter 2023. Matthews, a member of the inaugural USA Deaf Curling team that competed in the 2007 Winter Deaflympics, will represent the NSO Council on the Board.

Lawrence Smith, also known as Larry, hails from Austin, Texas, and excelled in Varsity Track & Field at RIT and was a four-year letterman in football at Gallaudet University. Larry has over three decades of coaching experience in high school football, basketball, and track and field, including four stints with the U.S. Deaflympic team. Larry Smith was elected as the Summer NSO Chair in the winter of 2023. Smith has been a dedicated member of the USA Deaf Track and Field team for a number of years.

Kevin Smith, a Hall of Famer with USA Deaf Basketball, is a three-time Deaflympic gold medalist in Basketball. Kevin joined the USADSF Board in 2021 and serves on the USADSF Hall of Fame Committee.

Dr. Liza Offreda, USADSF Vice President, first joined the USADSF as a NSO representative in 2017 and currently serves on USADSF’s medical committee. Dr. Offreda is also the Head Coach of Women’s Soccer at Gallaudet University and serves as the athletics department’s Title IX Coordinator. Dr. Offreda, who starred in Division-1 soccer at Montclair State, is also a two-time Deaflympic gold medalist in soccer.

Jeffrey Mansfield, USADSF President, is a three-time Deaflympian, two-time Deaflympic gold medalist, and the 2005 USA Hockey Disabled Player of the Year. Mansfield also played Division I Ice Hockey at Princeton University, and has served on the USADSF Board since fall 2017, becoming president in 2022.

USADSF is still accepting expressions of interest to join its Board of Directors. To do so, send your cover letter and CV or resume to

For all inquiries related to this news or general inquiries, please contact us at

USADSF Mission: Empower USA Deaflympic and Deaf National Teams to continuously reach their highest competitive potential and promote accessible and inclusive sports environments and experiences for Deaf and Hard of Hearing athletes. USADSF Vision: Deaf and Hard of Hearing Americans shall thrive in all aspects of sport and society with the full provision of equal access and barrier-free participation. The United States Deaflympics and National Teams shall serve as an exemplary model of equity, inclusion, and excellence. The USADSF does not discriminate based on race, religion, national origin, gender, age, orientation, handicap, or veteran status.

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